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Airtel’s Average Speeds Show Improvement, Jio’s Speeds Show Consistency: Kotak

Various telecom network performance tests have suggested an improvement in Bharti Airtel’s average speeds, consistent speeds for Reliance Jio and deterioration for Vodafone Idea, a report by Kotak Institutional Equities brought out.

“We are impressed with the consistent, slow as it may be, improvement for Bharti. Vodafone Idea’s spectrum consolidation is yet to reflect in improved network performance, even in some of their focus markets,” the report mentioned.

Kotak after tracking and analyzing network performance tests including TRAI IDTs, TRAI MySpeed app Ookla, OpenSignal and Tutela, suggested that the network experience will overtake pricing as the primary driver of incremental LTE subscribers and usage share.TRAI’s drive tests in 69 cities and towns, covering a population of around 150 mn suggest that Airtel leads on download speeds with an average download speed of 8.3 Mbps.

Airtel is followed by Reliance Jio with an average download speed of 6.2 Mbps and Vodafone and Idea with average speeds of 6 Mbps and 5.3 Mbps respectively.On upload speeds, Vodafone leads with an average of 5.9 Mbps, followed by Idea with an average of 5.2 Mbps, Airtel with 3.7 Mbps, and Reliance Jio with 3.1 Mbps, as per TRAI’s tests.

The dichotomy in download and upload speed ranks is perhaps on account of lower TDD spectrum deployed by Vodafone and Idea compared to Airtel and Jio, Kotak mentioned. TDD spectrum offers skewed download and upload speeds (in favor of download speeds) as compared to FDD spectrum.

TRAI IDD tests have now been commissioned twice, spaced out by a year or so in as many as 11 cities, where Airtel’s download speeds have improved in as many as nine; improvement is material in the range of 1-10 Mbps.

Jio, on the other hand, has seen speeds deteriorate in eight cities and improve in three. Vodafone and Idea have seen speeds improve modestly in six and four markets, respectively while deteriorating quite sharply in other markets, Kotak analyzed.

The report also mentioned studying a new crowdsourced network speed tracker – Tutela which showed results similar to Ookla and OpenSignal

Tutela’s Feb 2019 update pegged Airtel as the download speed leader with an average speed of 8.6 Mbps with Jio, Vodafone and Idea in a tight band of 6.2-6.4 Mbps. The report put Airtel’s LTE availability at 84%, Vodafone’s at 74% and Idea’s at 69%.

Tutela’s resuts showed improvement for Airtel when compared with OpenSignal’s October 2018 update.

Ookla’s report on second-half of 2018 showed Airtel’s average pan-India download speed move up to 10.34 Mbps from 10.15 Mbps in first half. Jio’s speeds improved to 7.11 Mbps from 6.95 Mbps, Vodafone saw a decline to 8.19 Mbps from 8.31 Mbps, and Idea reported a sharp dip to 6.2 Mbps from 6.66 Mbps.

However, as per TRAI’s MySpeed app Feb 2019, average LTE download speed of Jio stood at 20.8 Mbps which is two to three times more than speeds for Airtel (9.6 Mbps), Vodafone (6.7 Mbps) and Idea (6.3 Mbps).―India Finance News

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