With one of the largest populations in the world, the government backed push for digitization, and competitive pricing, India is one of the most heavily penetrated markets when it comes to smartphone and mobile network usage.
While in terms of quality, India doesn’t come close to more industrialized countries like the US and Japan, its network providers seem to keep their customers happy and satisfied overall. According to Tutela, a firm that uses crowdsourced data to gauge various aspects of the mobile network industry, out of all major network providers in India, Airtel seems to offer the best network quality.
The report, which is based on data from 2020, measures mobile experience based on 5 parameters, namely – excellent consistent quality, core consistent quality, download speed, upload speed, and network latency. Based on their findings, the report reveals that Airtel provides the best quality across 4 out of the 5 areas of investigation.
Airtel Dominates, Jio Disappoints
Network consistency, known as Consistent Quality, is a measure unique to Tutela. It’s based on the knowledge that download speed is not the most reliable or holistic measure of the overall quality of a network. Instead, they have come up with two different criteria based on specific use cases. Depending on the use cases fulfilled, a network either provides Core Consistent Quality or Excellent Consistent Quality. However, given internet speeds today, most networks typically provide both.
Airtel provides the highest Core and Excellent Consistent Qualities at 83% and 55.4% respectively. This means that people on Airtel networks, depending on various factors like the network plan they use, can browse the web, play real-time mobile games, stream HD and SD videos, as well as conduct HD video calls with the least interruption presently possible in Common Coverage Areas across India. The network with the lowest Consistent Qualities is BSNL Mobile with 14% Excellent Consistency Quality and 48.5% Core Consistent Quality.
Airtel also has the highest median download speed at 10 mbps. Here, once again, BSNL Mobile performs the worst, with a median download speed of 2.8 mbps.
However, Airtel does not have the highest upload speed, coming in second at 4.2 mbps. Instead, Vodafone Idea, which is the runner up in all other domains, takes first place in this one at 5.1 mbps. BSNL Mobile once again has the least to offer at 1.7 mbps.
Lastly, Airtel also had the highest latency. In other words, the network responded to a request in the shortest time possible at 24 milliseconds. However, the competition was close between Airtel, Vodafone, and Jio for this one with Vodafone Ideas latency coming in at 26.5 ms and Jio’s at 28.5 ms. BSNL Mobile’s latency on the other hand was behind by 20-25 milliseconds at 49.1 ms.
Airtel is not the most used mobile network in India, losing out to Reliance Jio in this respect. However, it is indisputably the best in terms of quality due to its massive international presence and consequent experience.
The main reason behind Airtel’s smaller user base is costlier costly as compared to Reliance Jio, which currently offers the most features at the most competitive price point. While the company has tried to keep up with this challenge, it seems that quality still seems to be the foremost priority.
In response to Tutela’s findings, Airtel’s CTO commented, “we are obsessed with delivering the best network experience to our customers. These findings are a validation of our consistent efforts to remain ahead of the curve when it comes to network innovation and technology.”
Reliance Jio may be roping in more number of users with each passing quarter, but it’s Airtel which is trying to match customers’ expectations as much as possible. In the long run, the strategy will pay off well undoubtedly as it’s the premium customers who keep a company in business. Hope other network providers start paying attention to the same soon!