Airtel remains on top in India when it comes to 4G and 3G download speeds, well ahead of rivals Reliance Jio, Vodafone and Idea Cellular. The latest data comes from OpenSignal’s report on the state of LTE networks in India, published for April 2018. OpenSignal collected close to 8,412,910,035 datapoints from over 736,571 users during the period of December 1, 2017 to Feb 28, 2018 for this report. The data also shows that while Reliance Jio has the highest 4G availability, all of India’s major 4G providers have managed to hit 65% LTE availability threshold, which is an increase on this parameter. However, there were slight drops in LTE speeds for three operators.
When it comes to average speeds, Airtel held onto the 3G and 4G speed awards, and also got the overall speed award, which includes 3G and 4G download speeds combined. Airtel’s download speeds in 4G stood at 9.31 Mbps, while Idea Cellular was number two with 7.27 Mbps. Vodafone was number three with 6.98 Mbps, while Jio was at the bottom with 5.13 Mbps. Still, the OpenSignal report notes that Jio remained the closest contender in overall speed due to its high level of 4G access. In overall speeds, Jio delivered typical everyday download speeds of 5.1 Mbps in tests, compared to Airtel’s 6 Mbps.
According to the report, Jio remains far ahead of its key rivals in 4G LTE availability, beating the other three rivals by at least 27 percentage points in our measurements. The testers were able to access an LTE signal on the Jio network nearly 96.4% of the time, according to OpenSignal. In the October report, the LTE availability from Jio was at 95.6%.
The other player that saw the biggest improvement in 4G reach was Airtel, which increased availability of the service by more than 9 percentage points to 66.8%. Still Airtel, Vodafone and Idea Cellular have some catching up to do with Jio when it comes to 4G LTE availability, says OpenSignal. In terms of regional division for download speeds, Idea bested Airtel in both west and east Uttar Pradesh when it came to 4G speeds. Vodafone led the 4G speeds in Gujarat and Tamil Nadu.
The key point from the OpenSignal report still remains that in the last six months there has been “practically no change in 4G speeds”. So while 4G connectivity has increased, the speeds have not gone up drastically. Airtel’s speeds in the October report were 9.15 Mbps, Jio was at 5.81, while Vodafone was at 7.85 Mbps.
On speed though, Airtel’s 4G was up incrementally, while the other three operators saw their speeds fall off slightly. Still the best LTE speed score in India is below the global 4G download average of 16.9 Mbps recorded, recorded by OpenSignal. Even 3G speeds continue to fall. Airtel was down from 3.6 Mbps to 2.7 Mbps, Vodafone was down by nearly a megabit between reports, says OpenSignal. Interestingly BSNL was the only player to produce any gains in the 3G speeds. However, the report notes that with operators offering cheaper, free data on both 3G and 4G, the network is facing more constraints, which is causing quality to drop.