5G Speeds Go Down in India as Availability and Users Increase: Opensignal Data

During the peak hours (9 pm - 12 pm), there was a significant decline in Q1 2024 compared to Q1 2023, said Opensignal. It is worth noting that both Indian telecom operators that are offering 5G to customers are not charging anything for it.

Highlights

  • Indian telecom operators have invested hugely in rolling out 5G rapidly throughout the country.
  • As the coverage or availability of 5G increased, the median download speeds went down.
  • Airtel saw an increase in 5G speeds along with coverage, however, Jio saw a decrease in speeds after it expanded availability.

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Indian telecom operators have invested hugely in rolling out 5G rapidly throughout the country. As the coverage or availability of 5G increased, the median download speeds went down. Individually, Airtel saw an increase in 5G speeds along with coverage, however, Jio saw a decrease in speeds after it expanded availability. According to a recent Opensignal report, India's 5G download speeds decreased from 304 Mbps in Q1 2023 to 280..7 Mbps in Q4 2023.




Even during the peak hours (9 pm - 12 pm), there was a significant decline in Q1 2024 compared to Q1 2023, said Opensignal. It is worth noting that both Indian telecom operators that are offering 5G to customers are not charging anything for it. 5G is bundled as an additional benefit with the 4G plans above Rs 239.

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Jio has already confirmed that its 5G traffic is now approaching 30% of the total mobility data traffic. 5G data consumption is going up every quarter as more users are introduced to 5G. The additional load is the reason why the median 5G download speed is going down, which is pretty normal.

5G India Data Traffic

Airtel had around 72 million 5G customers while Jio had more than 110 million 5G users at the end of March 31, 2024. So quite obviously, Jio's networks are handling much more 5G data traffic, and thus, the median download speeds have decreased. However, for Airtel, even as the number of 5G users are increased and coverage is expanding, the speeds are only going up.

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Airtel is continously investing in increasing the capacity of 5G networks and has reduced investments towards 4G. While Airtel is investing in 5G NSA (non-standalone architecture), and Jio is investing in rolling out 5G SA (standalone architecture), the investments in 5G BTS (Base Transciever Station) is where the growth needs to happen.

To give you the context, 5G BTS in India at the end of May 2024 as per the information shared by the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) was 446,000, translating to 31 5G BTS per 100,000 inhabitants. Compared to this, in South Korea, it was 593 and in the EU (European Union) it was 103. Thus, given the sheer population in India, the telcos will have to deploy more 5G BTS to improve the customer experience.

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