Airtel data network speed improved beating Jio and Vodafone Idea

Bharti Airtel has achieved significant improvement in data speeds in India, network performance tests conducted by TRAI, Ookla and Tutela indicate.
Airtel 4G quality networkVodafone Idea’s data users faced deterioration in data network quality, Rohit Chordia and Aniket Sethi at Kotak Institutional Equities Research, said in their latest report.

Reliance Jio subscribers have experienced consistent speeds. But there is no improvement in data network quality for Reliance Jio subscribers on its 4G network.

Customer experience will overtake pricing as the primary driver of incremental LTE subscribers and usage share.

Vodafone Idea’s spectrum consolidation is yet to reflect in improved network performance, even in some of their focus markets.


Indian telecom regulator TRAI has commissioned independent drive tests in as many as 69 cities and towns covering a population of around 150 million.

On a population-weighted basis – Bharti Airtel leads on download speeds with a weighted-average download speed of 8.3 Mbps.

Reliance Jio is #2 with average download speed of 6.2 Mbps.

Vodafone and Idea (still tested as separate networks) are #3 and #4 with average speeds of 6 Mbps and 5.3 Mbps respectively.

Vodafone leads with an average of 5.9 Mbps in terms of upload speeds. Idea Cellular is #2 with an average of 5.2 Mbps upload speeds.

Bharti Airtel is #3 with 3.7 Mbps upload speeds.

Reliance Jio is #4 with 3.1 Mbps upload speeds.

The dichotomy in download and upload speed ranks is perhaps on account of lower TDD spectrum deployed by Vodafone and Idea compared to Bharti and Reliance Jio. TDD spectrum offers skewed download and upload speeds (in favor of download speeds) as compared to FDD spectrum.

TRAI’s independent drive tests in 11 cities show that Bharti Airtel’s download speeds have improved — in the range of 1-10 Mbps — in nine telecom circles.

Reliance Jio’s mobile data speeds deteriorated in eight cities and improved in three circles in India.

Vodafone and Idea have improved speeds modestly in six and four markets, respectively while deteriorating quite sharply in other markets.

Ookla speed test report

According to Ookla, Bharti Airtel has improved download speed to 10.34 Mbps from 10.15 Mbps.

Reliance Jio’s speeds have improved its download speed to 7.11 Mbps from 6.95 Mbps.

Vodafone’s data download speed has declined to 8.19 Mbps from 8.31 Mbps.

Idea has reported a sharp dip in download speed to 6.2 Mbps from 6.66 Mbps.


Tutela’s Feb 2019 update pegs Bharti Airtel as the download speed leader with an average speed of 8.6 Mbps with Jio, Vodafone and Idea in a tight band of 6.2-6.4

Mbps. The report pegs Bharti’s LTE availability at 84 percent, Vodafone’s at 74 percent and Idea’s at 69 percent.

This suggests a material improvement for Bharti Airtel versus OpenSignal’s Oct 2018 update.

MySpeed app data for Feb 2019 indicates average LTE download speed of 20.8 Mbps for Reliance Jio, more than 2-3X the speeds for Bharti (9.6 Mbps), Vodafone (6.7 Mbps) and Idea (6.3 Mbps).