Opensignal said in its analysis that 5G enhanced smartphone users’ mobile experience in India — in terms of download and upload speeds, as well as their experience when streaming mobile video and mobile multiplayer gaming.
Airtel was the first to launch commercially, using non-standalone access (NSA) technology. By contrast, Jio has taken the 5G standalone access (SA) route and uses the 700 MHz band (5G low-band spectrum) that no other Indian operator currently has. Vi (Vodafone Idea) is yet to launch commercial 5G services in India.
Airtel has started offering 5G service in select parts of 12 Indian cities, including Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai, Bengaluru, Hyderabad, Siliguri, Guwahati, Panipat, Patna, Nagpur, Varanasi and Gurugram, as well as several airports across the country.
Reliance Jio’s 5G was available in select parts of Delhi-NCR region, Mumbai, Varanasi, Nathdwara, Pune, Hyderabad, Bengaluru, Chennai and Kolkata, and 33 district headquarters in the state of Gujarat. Jio plans to achieve nationwide 5G coverage by the end of 2023, while Airtel aims to do so by March 2024.
5G smartphone users in India achieved 242.1 Mbps speed when connected to 5G —16.5 times faster than the 14.7 Mbps seen with 4G. In peak download speeds — the average speed experienced by the top 2% of users — the uplift from 4G to 5G is also remarkable. India’s 5G peak download speed clocked in at 690.6 Mbps, 11.6 times faster than its 4G peak download speed.
5G smartphone users enjoyed faster upload speeds with 5G compared to 4G services. However, the proportional uplift was lower than what was observed for download speeds. With 21.2 Mbps on average, upload speeds on 5G were 5.4 times faster than on 4G. While download speeds always attract the most attention, upload speeds are key to user experience, as sharing on social media or remote working activities, all benefit from fast upload speeds.
Looking at the experience of users when streaming video over mobile connections, phone users in India enjoyed a Very Good (65-75) video experience when connected to 5G. In contrast, 4G Video Experience rated Fair (40-55) — two categories lower than 5G.