The group of telecom operators represented by COAI approached Trai (Telecom Regulatory Authority of India) in an attempt to make the regulator look at the discrepancies in the MySpeed app which measures mobile data speeds. The groups of telcos want the regulator to take an in-depth look at the reports and findings and point out the inconsistencies in the applications which might possibly mislead the consumers into making a wrong choice. The COAI which represents top telecom operators like Bharti Airtel, Vodafone India, Idea Cellular and Jio pointed out that the MySpeed app by Trai placed one operator ahead of others denoting a sharp difference between the download speed of the said telco and other telecom operators.
To shed light on the issue, Cellular Operators Association of India cited a white paper that demonstrated data-speed testers such as Ookla, OpenSignal and 4G Mark finalised Jio’s download speeds at 7.33 Mbps, 5.81 Mbps and 4.6 Mbps, respectively, while Trai’s MySpeed app recorded it at 18.4 Mbps, which is a remarkably large difference.
Rajan Matthews, COAI’s Director General, drafted a letter to Trai on April 10 which said “Trai’s white paper highlights that different measurement methodologies were adopted and their processing approaches would have different results. But if this is the reality, the different results should be uniformly visible for all operators across different apps, but the findings of Trai’s MySpeed app are significantly different for only a single telecom service provider, which would not provide the justification in understanding the reason for such a huge variation.”
According to Matthews, the app which simplified data download speeds from telecom operators showed inconsistencies and discrepancies in their results. Rajan went onto say that such an application might even “defeat the purpose” of conducting these tests. Also, he showed his doubts on the application’s “level of their accuracy.” The COAI Director General asked the Trai to “identify the reasons for deviation in the speed of only one TSP in the regulator’s MySpeed App data.”
As per ET’s report Rajan told them “There appear to be anomalies in the results captured by Trai’s MySpeed app, and the regulator needs to rectify the discrepancies and be careful about positioning it as the definitive benchmark for certifying telco data speeds as consumers relying on such flawed data would be unable to make informed choices when selecting service providers.”
It is worth noting that the application by Trai uses crowdsourcing to test the speeds of the telecom operators. The inconsistency in the data first surfaced when a test conducted by Ookla showed Bharti Airtel to be the fastest mobile data provider in India, while the app by Trai said that Reliance Jio stood on the first spot.
Jio was rattled about the test results by Ookla after which they reportedly launched a legal battle against the tester for blatantly and knowingly tampering with results which according to Jio’s claims further turned into losses for the company. The battle heated more after Airtel launched an ad campaign based on the test results, for which Reliance alleged Airtel of resorting to conspiracy, defamation and breach of trust. However, later Reliance Jio’s plea was dismissed by the court.
Ookla replied to allegations thrown by Jio by stating that their compiled reports were based on over 25 million tests taken on 3.7 million unique devices. Ookla also assured that accuracy and transparency were of utmost importance to them and claimed that their results were verifiably correct and were trustworthy.
Trai in a recent statement said that proper speed testing was important for the consumers to make an informed choice about their broadband provider and for the policymakers and regulators “to assess the accessibility to services dependent on broadband.” It remains to be seen how Trai follows up to the reports by COAI and what solution the regulator comes up with, to ensure transparency in mobile data speed tests.