Amid a raging debate on efficacy and results of speed test apps, Trai plans to ‘study’ the methodology and other nuances of such applications used for checking upload and download speeds of data, an official said. The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) is calling major speed test apps for a presentation to “understand” their methodology. The exercise is expected to culminate into a ‘paper’ that will be placed in the public domain in the coming months.
The sector regulator plans to meet 7-8 mobile internet speed testing firms, including Ookla, over the next one or two months, in this regard. The move assumes significance as Airtel has used Ookla results in the past to assert itself as fastest network, a claim contested by Reliance Jio. On the other hand, Mukesh Ambani owned Jio has been recording highest speed over the past few months on Trai’s own speed test app called ‘MySpeed’ app. But broadband speed testing firm OpenSignal has raised questions on Trai’s 4G test method.
Trai hopes that its initiative would not only help raise consumer awareness about the various apps and choices available to users but could also lead to improvements in MySpeed app. “There may also be consumers who have never used these apps to check speeds. The idea is to make the public aware of all the options available, and educate the customer,” a Trai official said on condition of anonymity. Overall, Trai aims to understand the working of such apps and not to rank them or set standards for the apps. “There are times when variations are found even when tests are conducted in quick succession. So we thought why not call them to see the working,” the official said.
Trai is seeking to do an exploratory research on methods as well as factors that affect the test results, and has written to various firms that provide these apps to come and make a presentation. “It may, however, take some time as many of the representatives are not based here,” the official added.
Speed tests have been subject of much debate in the past, with telcos touting the results to woo customers and even designing high-decibel ad campaigns around it.
In March this year, Airtel and Jio clashed head-on in the battle for data speed supremacy with the newcomer objecting to Airtel’s claim of being the fastest network, and the incumbent arguing back that the charges were a deliberate attempt to malign the brand and misguide customers.