While Bharti Airtel has topped the chart in terms of 4G download speed of 9.31 Mbps and Jio is at the bottom with a download speed of 5.13 Mbps, the ranking is the opposite when it comes to network coverage.
With data becoming the buzzword in mobile communication, speed is of essence and with LTE 4G becoming the norm, download speed is a new contested area between telecom operators. The latest report (December-February) from OpenSignal — an international agency that comes out with quarterly reports on data download speed and network coverage — shows the country’s top two players, Bharti Airtel and Reliance Jio, at the top as well as bottom of the heap in different segments. While Bharti Airtel has topped the chart in terms of 4G download speed of 9.31 Mbps and Jio is at the bottom with a download speed of 5.13 Mbps, the ranking is the opposite when it comes to network coverage.
As far as coverage is concerned, which means the ability to find a 4G signal, Jio is at the top with 96.4% coverage of its LTE network. This means the chances of a Jio subscriber not being able to get a 4G signal is very low. On this parameter, Bharti comes at the bottom with a coverage of only 66.81%. However, the OpenSignal report has commended both the operators, Jio for excellent coverage, especially since it has no back-up of 2G or 3G that operators like Bharti, Vodafone or Idea have. “Of what use is speed if one can’t get a signal,” the report noted.
It has commended Bharti because apart from maintaining its lead in download speed it has increased its coverage the most — by 9 percentage points — in the last six months. But since back then also it was at the bottom the gain has not seen it move beyond Vodafone and Idea in terms of ranking. And while operators and the consumers may gain some comfort in seeing the improving download speed, some disappointment may creep in on knowing that India’s best speed of 9.31 Mbps is still well below the global average of 16.9 Mbps.
The report has complimented Indian operators for improving their 4G network coverage over the last six months. “There’s good news, though, for all of India’s nationwide 4G operators when it comes to availability. We saw huge jumps in this metric from Airtel, Idea and Vodafone. In our last report none of these three operators had an LTE availability score higher than 65%. Now all three have surpassed that bar, and two of them · Idea and Vodafone · are closing in on the 70% mark,” it said. “It shows that Airtel, Idea and Vodafone aren’t conceding to Jio in the race to extend LTE access across the subcontinent. They’re actively extending the reach of their 4G services and they’re doing so at an an ever-quickening pace,” OpenSignal added in its report.