Airtel improved 4G speeds (11.5 Mbps) and expanded its 4G service to 19 of the total 22 markets

November 4, 2016
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Bharti Airtel (Airtel) has recorded the fastest speeds in 4G services in October, while the latest entrant Reliance Jio Infocomm (RJio) has been recorded the slowest.

According to a latest edition of Quality of Service Tracker analyses Airtel improved 4G speeds (11.5 Mbps) and expanded its 4G service to 19 of the total 22 markets, while RJio saw a fall in data speeds across 17 markets to and average 6 Mbps.

RJio’s speed was comparable to the speeds of Idea Cellular (7.7 Mbps) and Vodafone (7.5 Mbps) and nearly that half of Airtel, the second edition of the report said.

It also said if RJio’s 4G speeds do not improve, the new entrant may extend ‘free offers’ beyond December adding risks to the data pricing of incumbents.

“We are positively surprised by the network outperformance of Bharti Airtel and maintain that it remains a key driver of market share gains,” the report said. The report was analysed from TRAI’s speed test data based on 2.5 million and 0.5 million samples on 4G and 3G networks, respectively, it said.

Among these four large operators, while Airtel and Idea have improved/maintained 4G speeds, Vodafone and RJio have seen a fall, the report said adding that average 4G network speeds are still two-to-three times of 3G speeds, which could continue to drive migration from 3G to 4G services.

In contrast to Airtel and Idea, RJio saw a 20 per cent fall in speeds from 7.2 Mbps in September (it was launched on September 5) to 6 Mbps in October and with 17 of the 22 markets reporting the fall, a quick subscriber ramp-up led by ‘free offers’ (high usage) impacted service quality in most markets, the CLSA report said.

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