For all the talk of 4G and high-speed broadband in India, the average download speed — at 5.1Mbps — is less than a third of the global average and only marginally higher than the global 3G speed of 4.4 Mbps.
According to a report by OpenSignal, download speeds in India have dropped more than one megabit per second in the last six months as traffic has surged, mainly on the back of Reliance Jio Infocomm’s free services.
Rivals such as Bharti Airtel, Vodafone and Idea Cellular have also slashed prices and offered freebies, further adding to demand for data services. OpenSignal is a London-headquartered company that specialises in wireless coverage mapping.
In fact, India — ranked 74th— came below the likes of Pakistan and Sri Lanka and just ahead of Costa Rica in terms of speed. Singapore scored the highest in 4G speed while South Korea scored highest in 4G availability. The global average 4G download speed was 16.2 Mbps.
Consumer complaints over sluggish pace have pushed the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) to look closely at what carriers are providing.
However, OpenSignal termed Jio’s success as “a double-edged sword”, saying that the onslaught of data usage which Jio’s launch generated has taxed its network capacity, which has driven down 4G speeds.
By Baishakhi Dutta