OpenSignal is out with its latest report on the telecom network progress in the country. The State of Mobile Networks: India (April 2018) underlines the condition of the networks, lists the best performing telecom operators, and stresses on the areas where attention is required from operators.
India aims to be at par with international operators and be 5G ready in the next few years. Given the spotty coverage, it might appear to be a challenging goal to achieve. According to the latest OpenSignal report, in the last six months, there has been a significant improvement in terms of 4G availability in the country. For operators, it has now become a priority to provide LTE signals.
While this is a clear indication of the telecom industry being on track of building itself for the upcoming 5G era, the report stresses that the speed is still an area that requires improvement. The report states that the operators are focused on expanding their LTE reach, and are not focusing on improving the speeds. In the given sample period between December 1, 2017 and February 28, 2018, 4G availability increased for every major operator. All of the major 4G providers have crossed 65 percent LTE availability threshold, with three of them, including Idea Cellular, and Vodafone, nearing the 70 percent mark.
However, the report states, “4G Speeds, however, remained stagnant, but that could soon change as the wave of consolidation clears the way for new high-capacity networks.” As for consolidation, the upcoming merger is that of Vodafone and Idea Cellular. The two are expected to begin operating as a single entity by the end of this month, ahead of their half-year projected timeline.
In terms of speed, Bharti Airtel continued to win the 3G and 4G, as well as overall speed award. It was capable of delivering typical every day download speeds of 6 Mbps. In comparison, Reliance Jio, which came close second delivered a speed of 5.1 Mbps.
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Reliance Jio won the award for maximum 4G availability, beating other operators by at least 27 percentage points. OpenSignal’s testers were able to find an LTE signal on Jio’s network 96.4 percent of the time in the latest test period, up from 95.6 percent in the October report. Airtel dominated in 4G speed nationally, while Idea Cellular did well in both east and west Uttar Pradesh. Vodafone dominated in Gujarat and Tamil Nadu. Both operators were tied for first in LTE speed in several other regions as well.