India had quite an eventful past year when it comes to 4G networks. The most prominent reason for that is, of course, the advent of Reliance Jio that entirely overturned the landscape with an endless number of complimentary offers across the country. Globally as well, the country was able to make its presence more perceptible as OpenSignal’s latest ‘State of LTE’ report reveals that India has climbed nine spots from twenty-fourth to fifteenth worldwide in terms of 4G availability.
The study (which involved 558,260 test devices) further highlights the sudden growth of LTE in India as OpenSignal users were able to locate an LTE signal 81.6% of the time in the first quarter which is up by 10% since the third quarter of 2016. Reliance Jio, as you’d expect, accounts for the majority of this growth thanks to its LTE-only nature. Moreover, it was available in 90% of the locations as compared to 60% in the case of other mobile operators.
Unfortunately, while the number of 4G users is proliferating, networks are still struggling to maintain competent data speeds throughout the country. India’s average LTE download speed was merely 5.1 Mbps, dropping by more than a megabit per second in the past six months. These speeds are, in fact, only partially higher than the average global 3G connection which was measured at 4.4 Mbps by OpenSignal.
South Korea continues to dominate the list with the highest penetration of 4G, followed by Japan, Norway, and the USA.
It’s safe to say that LTE is finally a top priority of every mobile carrier in India, however, despite Jio’s aggressive onslaught, we haven’t seen much improvement from networks such as Vodafone, Airtel. They did bring the prices marginally down and introduced a slew of free offers as well, but we all know that is not going to last long enough. While other countries are competing to reach a whopping 50 Mbps on LTE networks, Indians haven’t been able to pass a single digit score, and that’s the average. The 4G landscape has seen substantial advancement this year, just not enough to reach the Digital India goal the Prime Minister continues to boast about.