Reliance Jio is the most widely available 4G LTE network in India, reveals the latest State of Mobile Networks report by OpenSignal. Jio testers were able to find an LTE signal more than 95 percent of the time in the period between June and August 2017. While LTE availability was up across the board, “Jio was still the operator to beat”. OpenSignal arrived at the findings from more than 7 billion tests conducted on 708,504 mobile devices throughout the country. Top six telcos were sampled in the report. Three of those operators Bharti Airtel, Idea Cellular and Vodafone run both 3G and 4G networks. Two, BSNL Mobile and Reliance Communications, operate 3G networks only. And Jio is a 4G-only network. Also Read - Best Vodafone-idea (Vi) prepaid plans under Rs 100: List of plans, unlimited data, voice calls, moreAlso Read - Airtel Rs 79 plan vs JioPhone Rs 75 prepaid plan compared: Which offers better value?
Bharti Airtel ranked second in terms of 4G network availability, but managed to top 4G download speeds. Airtel came out top in 3G download speed too; however, “3G speeds nose-dived” across the board during this period. “We measured average LTE downloads of 9.2 Mbps and 3G downloads of 3.6 Mbps on its networks. Despite its wins though, both metrics were down from our last report [in April],” OpenSignal revealed. Also, the speed-gap between operators is starting to shrink, it said. ALSO READ: Reliance Jio tops chart in 4G download speed in April: TRAI
Interestingly, while Jio’s 4G speed ranked lower than its rivals’, it trumped them in overall download speed. “We’ve tracked astonishing growth in Reliance Jio’s LTE speeds in the last six months. At 5.8 Mbps, its 4G speed score was still the lowest of the four national 4G operators, but because of Jio’s enormous LTE presence throughout India, it topped our overall speed charts,” OpenSignal explained. Operators with lower LTE availability usually have lower overall speeds because their subscribers spend more time on slower 3G networks. ALSO READ: Reliance Jio s average peak speed 13 times faster than daily 4G speed: Report
In terms of geographical distribution, Jio topped network availability, while Airtel led in download speeds across eight major telecom circles, viz. Delhi, Haryana, Karnataka, Kerala, Kolkata, Madhya Pradesh, Mumbai, Tamil Nadu. OpenSignal states that there is an “intense battle for 4G dominance” going on between “incumbent” Airtel and “upstart” Reliance Jio. Until April, Jio’s speeds trailed the top three operators’. Once its free-period offer ended on March 31, speeds started improving. “Jio’s average 4G download speed result climbed from 3.9 Mbps to 5.8 Mbps an astonishing 49 percent increase. As the free-data period concluded, something clearly happened to ease the congestion on Jio’s network,” states OpenSignal.
It is likely that Jio customers started restricting their data usage once they found themselves paying for the gigabytes consumed. Many free hoarders dropped out from being paid subscribes once Jio’s Happy New Year Offer expired. On the contrary, as incumbents Airtel, Vodafone and Idea Cellular launched competing low-cost data offers, the traffic on their networks increased thus leading to a dip in 4G speeds. Airtel’s 4G speed fell sharply from 11.5 Mbps to 9.1 Mbps, while Idea and Vodafone’s average 4G speed dropped by about a megabit each. “The bottom line: Jio provided a consistently faster mobile data experience overall,” OpenSignal noted.