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 by OpenSignal, an international agency that tracks data download speeds and network coverage, shows that though Reliance Jio and Bharti Airtel are neck-and-neck on almost all the parameters, Bharti has a slight edge over Jio in the overall race.
While Jio continues to be the leader as far as the 4G network coverage is concerned with a 96.70% coverage of its LTE network, Bharti has topped the charts on the overall download speed front with a speed of 7.53 Mbps.
In terms of network coverage, which basically means the ability to find a 4G signal, Bharti trails Jio with a coverage of 73.99%. Similarly, on download speed, Jio trails Bharti with a speed of 5.47 mbps.
Interestingly, the gap between Bharti and Jio widens in download speed only if the 4G download speed of Bharti is taken which is much higher at 9.96 mbps. It is its 3G download speed of 2.53 mbps which has brought down its overall speed to 7.53 mbps. This means that gradually as Bharti’s 4G network expands and 3G is shut down, speed levels should further improve.
Jio being ahead of Bharti in terms of 4G coverage is understood because it is a fully LTE-4G network whereas Bharti is gradually extending its 4G network and has substantial networks of 2G and 3G services.
“For Jio to lead in the network coverage category is perhaps no surprise since it launched as an LTE-only operator and its 4G availability keeps improving,” OpenSignal notes in its report. “Without 4G, even the most basic of mobile data functions such as web browsing become challenging, and activities such as music and video streaming are nigh-on impossible. The accelerated growth of 4G availability is playing an immeasurable role not just in connecting the country, but in shaping the mobile habits of hundreds of millions of India’s mobile users,” the report states.
Similarly, on Bharti Airtel’s top score on the download speed front, the report said the operator “continues to raise the stakes through extensive network investment, recently unveiling some wide-ranging plans in Karnataka, Uttar Pradesh (East and West telecoms regions) and Rajasthan, as well as deploying MIMO mobile technology in urban Kolkata. Competition in India’s mobile market remains at fever pitch, and Airtel seems determined to remain a serious contender”.
OpenSignal said that its findings are based on analysing over 10 billion measurements covering 1.7 million unique devices.
While download speeds and coverage are important, latency is another parameter which needs to be taken into account. Latency refers to the delay users experience as data makes a round trip through the network: If the latency of the network is high, it will experience a lot more lag time. Lower latency scores web pages begin loading more quickly and real-time communications apps and online games experience less lag. Here, Jio with the lowest latency score of 72.20 millisecond (ms) scores the best while Bharti has a high latency of 86.53 ms.
However, here again Bharti has got beaten because of its 3G network which is slower than 4G. If only 4G latency is taken, Bharti is lower at 68.33 ms. The high latency of its 3G services at 123.99 ms pulls it down on overall score.
Vodafone and Idea rank in the middle on almost all the parameters but now with their merger their score may improve and challenge Jio and Bharti, the OpenSignal report said. – Financial Express