Idea and Vodafone Offers best Online Streaming Experience Compared to other Operators in our Analysis

Ever wondered if you can stream something on your EDGE connection? What’s the quality of Data performance your Network is offering on continuous basis? Are your Downlinks very spontaneous?

When ever i used to perform a speed test i used to have an inner feeling that these tests just give a max speed output attained during a data transfer and is it the same quality we are getting throughout ? Though i also accept speedtest is a measure for Qos which gives various inputs, I wanted to test something more that comes in real usage scenarios, as in our routine we will not be checking speeds on regular basis. The expectations from any mobile internet user is just to get the internet experience bit smoother and flawless as long as they are in good operating conditions. So, i have decided to test the streaming performance of Operators on EDGE.

My main intention here is to check the streaming performance and not to discuss on the technical aspects and performance factors for EDGE/Devices. 

Device Specification used for Testing: EDGE class A, multislot class 32, maximum speed up to 296/177.6 kbps (DL/UL)

Network Symbol while Testing : EDGE – Enhanced Data Rates for GSM Evolution

Stream bitrate :  ~48k (Selected this bit rate for optimum quality)

Tested Time : ~10pm-11pm

What all Networks are Tested: Aircel, Airtel, Idea, TATA GSM, Uninor, Vodafone – AP Circle

2.75G EDGE Stream speeds

What did we do ? 

We have streamed music from a 48k bitrate online music service on every Network we are testing while connected to EDGE Network under no heavy background usage consumption scenarios (Have taken utmost care). We have conducted 3 trials of 5 min long playback each on every Network, Recorded the live audio streamed and digitized it to produce a waveform for visual appeal. A continuous waveform represents a flawless streaming performance by Network while a break(represented with B) in the waveform (buffers/buffering time) are represented with dimensioning on the waveform.

PS: BSNL /Reliance GSM – are excluded from this analysis as they have very poor coverage and fluctuating signal in the area where i performed tests. As fair play is needed i excluded them out of tests.

From the waveform digitized we can clearly see that Idea and Vodafone performed the best while giving No Buffer* music streaming experience along the 5min continuous play. 

We hope this is a very first of it’s kind Analysis in Telecom to bring the real performers out. We will make sure to come up with such analysis in every circle we visit with most feasibility.

Dear users do let us know what’s your favorite app for streaming music and Do you stream music via EDGE and how is your Network Operator performance in your Circle? Do let us know via comments. 

Note: All Testing done under normal usage scenarios and at a same location. I was as very much aware of all the Network BTS locations in the area of tests and fair policy is played for all Operators so that no good performer is portrayed as less performers. Performances may differ from circle to circle, Device used, Network Coverage and other affecting scenarios. We are sure of the performance tests* at least in my usage scenario and cases. We are not drawing conclusions of performances in other circles/areas. This analysis is just to bring awareness among users on basic streaming performances of operators on EDGE.

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24 Comments on "Idea and Vodafone Offers best Online Streaming Experience Compared to other Operators in our Analysis"


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October 5, 2014 11:04 am 11:04 AM

In Bihar and jharkhand, Idea gives superb speed.Speed is around 245kbps!!!!

September 4, 2014 11:17 pm 11:17 PM

As always Vodafone provides the most consistent network speeds.
Have experienced the same in Delhi-NCR as well.

Even while on national roaming (while travelling in train), the switch over between BTS towers is quite seamless. The voice hardly breaks when using Vodafone.

Shivam UP West.
September 5, 2014 9:37 pm 9:37 PM

I agree, as i am big fan of Airtel for last many years but i have seen their services are degrading. Call drop & slow 2G is biggest loop hole. Vodafone is becoming new Airtel.
In UP west circle- (in terms of coverage, call quality & 2G net speed).
1. Idea.
2. Voda
4. Airtel.
5. Ril.

September 4, 2014 8:35 pm 8:35 PM
Great analysis by Sri. Good job. Yes I have also found Vodafone to be the most constant performer irrespective of the circle. Airtel is good at some places but at most places the speeds are very poor. Idea is also not very bad. I have find through recent tests that airtel is improving it’s 2G network atleast in my circle. I don’t know about 3G. Recently I was trying to watch Youtube videos on airtel 2G at 144p but was not able to pass onto the video after the ad, it just stuck at that. Let’s hope airtel improves it’s… Read more »
September 5, 2014 12:00 pm 12:00 PM

Yes,I have noticed for the past one year that Airtel’s service has degraded a lot.I dont get proper signal at most of the places in the city.Previously I used to get signal enough to send sms inside Shyambazar metro station but nowadays I dont even get that.It becomes nil at stays nil at most of the stations.Also,if we are in a very large rooms like in marriage halls,Airtel’s signal fails.This is not expected from Previously it was mind blowing.I think something is definitely wrong which they are not able to identify.

September 5, 2014 11:11 pm 11:11 PM
Yes I have also noticed that. And really I don’t know how but Vodafone do manage their networks well. It’s not that Vodafone doesn’t have problems, but they solve them quickly. But in case of airtel, the problems persist. Mainly their 2G network is a big problem with slow speeds and voice break. In places of 3G this is not happening. And inside the metro the problem is very serious because other cheaper networks are able to provide the network but even after paying the premium on airtel we are not able to get the services. I want to switch… Read more »
September 6, 2014 1:45 pm 1:45 PM
Well, there are some circles where airtel has managed to keep up its image and services for example delhi. I mean their services are mind blowing here even though the prices would blow your pocket. Vodafone is also equal contender but some services like chargable MCA makes airtel a little ahead here in delhi. Also, the vodafone store staff are very helpful. Once, my friend forgot to bring the photo but they clicked the photo themselves and that too for free. (Ansal plaza). But in up e, airtel sucks. Really painfully slow 2g speed and no own 3g and fluctuating… Read more »