Lessons from OpenSignal report that ranked Airtel on top beating Jio, Vodafone, Idea

Jio Money in IndiaOpenSignal’s first State of Mobile Networks report for India offers lessons for the telecom industry stakeholders including the 900 million plus mobile phone users.

The first lesson for India’s telecom operators is the need for making investment in network to ensure better broadband experience.

Bharti Airtel, Idea Cellular and Vodafone India have benefited from their 3G investment strategy because their 4G mobile data customers could continue to get better experience in locations where they do not have 4G network.

Mobile data experience of Indian mobile Internet customers relies on speed, availability and latency.

OpenSignal, one of the rivals of Ookla, has identified clear winners in mobile data service categories focusing on – speed, availability and latency.

ALSO READ: OpenSignal’s first State of Mobile Networks report for India

Reports from OpenSignal and Ookla said Bharti Airtel is the undisputed leader in mobile network speed in India.

OpenSignal also said Reliance Jio Infocomm tops the chart in terms of availability. There’s no indication that Reliance Jio will be making any serious complaints about the OpenSignal report.

HIGHLIGHTS OF OPENSIGNAL REPORT

# Jio LTE connection was available 91.6% of the time nationally
# Jio 4G is available more than 30% ahead of rivals
# Other three 4G operators did not pass the 60% availability mark
# Idea and Vodafone got second spot in LTE availability with 59%
# Airtel LTE connection was only 54.7%.
# Airtel excelled in 4G speed tests with download speed of 11.5 Mbps
# Jio has download speed of 3.9 Mbps
# India’s 4G speeds are relatively slow
# 3G of Airtel and Vodafone is faster than 4G of Jio
# Airtel data customers benefitted from both 4G and 3G

What OpenSignal did not say

Jio, billionaire Mukesh Ambani’s 4G venture, is not the winner in the hotly contested speed test. In fact, Jio is far from taking on the winner Airtel. OpenSignal mentioned that Airtel is the winner in the overall speed test thanks to its 3G network.

OpenSignal in its analysis did not mention Airtel’s investment in mobile data infrastructure. Airtel has almost doubled its cell sites to 180,000 in the last two years. Bharti Airtel was the first Indian telecom operator to announce a massive Rs 60,000 crore investment program in India focusing on data networks.

But OpenSignal mentioned that why Reliance Jio has lost the crown to Airtel. The reason points to the fact that Reliance Jio has several millions of free 4G subscribers on its all-India $20 billion plus network. If one operator has more customers, then there will be deterioration in speed.

If this is the case, all top operators – based on 4G subscribers — will not be on the top of the speed chart. Recently, Verizon and T-Mobile US shared the top speed chart in the US, according to report from OpenSignal.

Reliance Jio could not offer a consistent high speed network to its 72 million paid subscribers despite making investment of $20 billion plus on its 4G network. Jio will be doubling its cell sites to 200,000 from the present 100,000. Airtel network is also not consistent for data users.

“The limited speeds we find in our Jio tests can be explained by Jio’s success. Networks are shared resources with a limited amount of capacity. The more users connecting to a network, the more individual connection speeds suffer,” OpenSignal said in its blog.

Jio has garnered 100 million subscribers in a space of six months, and it gave those customers nearly free reign to consume as much data as they liked. “Such a huge onslaught of 4G data usage would tax any network,” OpenSignal said.

OpenSignal was very vocal in emphasizing on 4G availability and ranked Jio on top. But the report did not mention anything about the availability of 3G network.

The OpenSignal report said Airtel LTE signal is available roughly half the time. But when the users fell back to the 3G network they enjoyed impressive connection speeds.

3G also moved Vodafone into second place in the overall rankings with an average download of 5.1 Mbps.

OpenSignal said the 3G speed of Airtel and Vodafone is better than 4G speed offered by Reliance Jio.

Baburajan K
[email protected]

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