Airtel Emerges as Top Telecom Operator in Download Speeds According to Reports, Vodafone Idea Witnesses Sharp Decline

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Tutela in February published its report on the ‘State of Mobile Networks India 2019’ which informed the consumers about the quality and coverage of various telecom operators across India along with some industry-specific insights. Other agencies like Ookla, Trai, and OpenSignal also published important data related to the telecom industry which showed some emerging trends which will be deemed crucial in the coming days for the companies. As per the reports, Bharti Airtel showed improvements in overall speeds, while Reliance Jio’s performance in this regard stayed on the same levels. Vodafone Idea, however, slipped on their spots with deteriorated speeds. It was in these reports that Airtel bagged the top spots across many categories, except in Trai MySpeed app, while Reliance Jio consistently stood on the second number. Here are the highlights of the various reports.


Trai Independent Drive Tests Deem Airtel to have Best Download Speeds

Notably, Trai has begun independent drive tests (IDTs) in 69 cities and towns which will cover a population of 150 million. As per the IDTs, on a population-weighted basis, Bharti Airtel leads on download speeds with a weighted-average download speed of 8.3 Mbps, whereas Reliance Jio stands second with 6.2 Mbps, and Vodafone and Idea respectively take the third and fourth spot with average speeds of 6 Mbps and 5.3 Mbps. Vodafone leads the parade when it comes to upload speeds boasts of 5.9 Mbps, Idea is on the second spot with an average of 5.2 Mbps, Airtel stands on number three with 3.7 Mbps, and Reliance Jio on the fourth spot with 3.1 Mbps. The reason for this difference as per the IDT report was noted to be sparse TDD deployment by Vodafone Idea as compared to Reliance Jio and Airtel.

Ookla Speed Test Hints Airtel's Leadership in Download Speeds

Similar trends were reported by Ookla. Although the 2HCY18 report is not available yet, but a blog entry shed some light on the numbers as it revealed that Bharti Airtel has seen average pan-India download speed move up to 10.34 Mbps from 10.15 Mbps in 1HCY18. Similarly, Jio’s speeds have improved to 7.11 Mbps from 6.95 Mbps. Vodafone, on the other hand, has seen a decline to 8.19 Mbps from 8.31 Mbps, and Idea has reported a sharp dip to 6.2 Mbps from 6.66 Mbps.

Source: Ookla, Kotak Institutional Equities

Tutela Reports Fall in Line, Whereas Trai MySpeed app Shows Contrast

The other reports sang the same tune as Tutela’s Feb 2019 update, which pegs Bharti 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. As per the report, Bharti’s LTE availability stood at 84%, Vodafone’s at 74% and Idea’s at 69%. This suggests a material improvement for Bharti versus OpenSignal’s Oct 2018 update.

Trai’s MySpeed test, however, painted a different picture. The MySpeed app data for Feb 2019 indicates that the average LTE download speed for Reliance Jio was 20.8 Mbps which is more than 2-3X the speeds for Bharti Airtel which stood at 9.6 Mbps, Vodafone at 6.7 Mbps and Idea at 6.3 Mbps.

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Arpit spends his day closely following the telecom and tech industry. A music connoisseur and a night owl, he also takes a deep interest in the Indian technology start-up scene and spends rest of his time spilling poetry and stories on paper.

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