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Thursday, September 16, 2021

‘5G: 10 times faster download likely’

Ookla's assessment and finding of median download speed increasing by up to 10 times is based on testing internet speed of networks of countries in Asia where 5G services have been rolled out recently.

By: ENS Economic Bureau | New Delhi |
Updated: August 13, 2021 6:05:51 am
Though India lags behind global markets in 5G roll-out, the delay may “eventually benefit the operators as they can procure the network equipment at a lower cost”.

The launch of commercial 5G in India has the potential to increase the median download speed by up to 10 times compared to the download speeds offered currently by 4G- LTE (long term evolution) networks, global internet testing Ookla said in a report.

It is impossible to say exactly how fast 5G will be for the average Indian user, given uncertainty over exact spectrum allocations and rollout plans (including the radio access network and improvements to backhaul and transport networks), but it’s safe to say 5G will bring a considerable bump to overall speeds in the country,” the company said in a report.

Ookla’s assessment and finding of median download speed increasing by up to 10 times is based on testing internet speed of networks of countries in Asia where 5G services have been rolled out recently.

For example, in Thailand and Philippines, where commercial 5G services were launched in the first and second quarter of 2020, respectively, internet download speeds on 5G networks reached up to 231.45 Mbps and 151.08 Mbps, respectively. On 4G, the speed offered was 25.99 Mbps and 15.12 Mbps, respectively.

In India, the download speeds of Reliance Jio Infocomm, which took the lead in 5G testing, has already shown an increase over the last 6 months, according to Ookla.

The operator’s median download speeds have increased from 5.96 Mbps in March 2021 to 13.08 Mbps in June. Its upload speeds and Consistency Score (percentage of samples which exceed 5 Mbps download and 1 Mbps upload) also saw considerable improvements,” Ookla said in its report.

On par with the global players, India had, in 2018, planned to start 5G services as soon as possible, with an aim to capitalise on the better network speeds and strength that the technology promised.

All the three private telecom players, Reliance Jio Infocomm, Bharti Airtel and Vi, have been urging the DoT to lay out a clear road map of spectrum allocation and 5G frequency bands, so that they would be able to plan the roll out of their services accordingly. One big hurdle, however, is the lack of flow of cash and adequate capital with at least two of the three players, namely Bharti Airtel and Vodafone Idea.

Though India lags behind global markets in 5G roll-out, the delay may “eventually benefit the operators as they can procure the network equipment at a lower cost”.

The adoption of Open RAN system by the Indian operators will further aid in bringing down the overall cost of 5G rollout. The 5G smartphone prices have already fallen and this trend will continue, spurred in India by partnerships such as Jio Platform’s with Google,” Ookla said.

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