The State Of 4G In India: The Early Excitement Is Resulting In Disappointment

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After the advent of Jio, India’s picture in terms of the internet, especially the state of 4G in India, has changed drastically, and for the good. Statistically, there are about 1049.74 million mobile subscribers in India as of April 2018 and of them, 337 million are expected to use the smartphones by the end of 2018. According to technology consultancy counterpart research, India is only behind China in becoming the biggest smartphone market, already bigger than many developed countries like the US and UK. Sounds satisfying, doesn’t it? Wait, there’s more.

India might be prospering as one of the largest consumers of 4G data in the world but when it comes to 4G LTE speed – the scene is exactly opposite. In the report published by UK-based wireless coverage mapping experts, OpenSignal, India is even behind Pakistan and Sri Lanka in terms of 4G speed. The report also depicts that with 6.07 Mbps, the 4G LTE speed in India is the slowest among 75 countries surveyed.

4G Speed in India: The Abysmal Condition

Let’s face it – we might brag about being a 4G nation, but secretly we all have to face problems like the slow internet, buffering and what not! The average 4G LTE data speed in our country has remained constant for the past year or so – at around 6.07 Mbps. This translate to being one-third of the global average of about 17 Mbps – which consequently puts India among the slowest countries on this platform.

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The Internet/broadband subscriber base in India was recorded 493.96 million in the March 2018, registering a quarterly growth of 10.76%. Even with such a large consumer base – the internet speed does no wonders, instead – it disappoints. India’s 4G download speeds are even slower than that of its neighbours’ Sri Lanka (13.95 Mbps), Pakistan (13.56 Mbps) and Myanmar (15.56 Mbps), according to OpenSignal. With these stats, it stands nowhere in competition with the developed markets such as the US (16.31 Mbps), UK (23.11Mbps) and Japan (25.39 Mbps).

India Ranks Lowest In 4G Download Speed

Despite variations in the list from multiple sources, one thing is certain – the state of 4G in India is quite disappointing.

The result of another survey, conducted by the US data speed tester Ookla, which studied a total of 124 countries, also points to the disheartening situation of 4G in India, which stands at the 109th position. Ookla tested the overall mobile internet speeds and concluded that the average 4G download speed of 9.12 Mbps, which is way below the 23.54 Mbps global average. However, India’s 6.07 Mbps is even below the average. Ookla’s mobile internet speed test results include measurements of various networks — 2G, 3G and 4G.for any country that it tests.

At the same time, if we have a look at the OpenSignal report, the scenario portrayed is no different. The OpenSignal report ranks India as the country having the slowest 4G download speed across 88 countries spanning six continents.

4G in India ranking

The Poor State of 4G in India

OpenSignal analyst Peter Boyland told ET the reason behind the comparatively slower speeds in our country.

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He said that this is due to the “astronomical growth in terms of smartphone penetration in India, with millions of new users connecting to its mobile networks every month”.

Also, there might be other reasons as well for the limited internet pace. Ookla spokesman Adriane Blum quoted another possible reason resulting in slower mobile Internet speeds in India. He said that India faces the challenge of serving an extremely dense population – which might be holding it back. With a lot of people on the internet at a given point of time, network congestion can certainly be a limiting factor.

Moreover, the spectrum per operator in India is low as compared to the other countries. This factor affects 4G network speeds to a great extent, pulling it down. The spectrum per subscriber also remains low in our country, due to high population.

Lastly, it might be possible because of the fact that except Jio, which is the only true 4G player, the other big telecom companies continue to run multiple mobile technologies. Therefore, most networks are unable to offer contiguous 4G coverage which results in the mobile signals dropping off from 4G to 3G to 2G to fill the 4G voids that, in turn, impact speeds and experience.

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