4G availability in India has never been in a better state. Teeming with competitive offers and profound rivalries between leading operators like Airtel and Reliance Jio, switching to a 4G plan has become exceedingly beneficial for users as compared to before. The complimentary period is now wearing off, however. In spite of that, demand for mobile data hasn’t sunk spawning congestion issues for everyone as pointed out in OpenSignal’s new report.
Reliance Jio sort of ended its free services on March 31st. Since then, as per the report, the network has sustained significant growth. The number grew from 3.9 Mbps to 5.8 Mbps — an astonishing 49% increase. The most obvious explanation behind this is the minor user base cutback the network has experienced from April. Although it’s still below than every other 4G network in the country. Airtel continues to top charts in both 4G as well as 3G. OpenSignal’s testings concluded an average LTE downloads of 9.2 Mbps and 3G downloads of 3.6 Mbps.
That being said, it’s worth noting Jio still offers an overall better LTE coverage thanks to its wide availability. OpenSignal says their testers were able to connect to a signal more than 95.6% of the time, putting Jio 32 percentage points ahead of its nearest competitor. Vodafone holds the second spot here measuring at 61.72%. Airtel, which leads the charts in terms of average speed, has an availability rate of just 57.2% which is quite baffling.
Telcos apart from Jio encountered substantial declines in their 4G speeds as well because of the increased congestion. While Airtel’s fell from 11.5 Mbps to 9.1 Mbps, Idea and Vodafone were down by a megabit. Each of these operators has come up with anti-Jio plans in the past few months. In addition to that, Vodafone and Airtel have been showering their users with complementary data, almost 30GB for postpaid customers. As a result, usage has soared on these networks as well which directly impacts the average speeds.
Reliance Jio has been consistently criticized for relying on complementary data. However, it seems like the operator has substantially bolstered its infrastructure for its next move. Airtel and Vodafone both have been enduring hefty losses for the past year and apart from a few offers, failed to come up with any momentous plans for outpacing Jio. It will be quite interesting how India’s 4G spectrum evolves in the next year.
Commenting on the source of data here, OpenSignal mentions in their report – “In our second State of the Mobile Network: India report we analyzed more than 7 billion measurements collected from 708,504 mobile devices from subscribers across India. We examined the 3G and 4G consumer experience on six operator’s networks.”