An early look at India’s first nationwide 4G operator, Jio

OpenSignal data analyst Joe Cainey caught sight of a ghost earlier this month when looking at our India network data. Defunct Mumbai operator Loop Mobile suddenly rematerialized in our network tests, showing LTE connections not just in Mumbai but in cities all over India. Digging a little deeper, Joe found Loop hadn’t actually risen from the dead. Instead we discovered the network belonged to India’s newest 4G operator Reliance Jio, which appears to be using Loop Mobile as a network ID while it prepares its new LTE service for launch later this year.

Jio's LTE network in Mumbai rears its head

Jio’s LTE network in Mumbai rears its head

Jio has been gearing up to launch a highly anticipated pan-Indian LTE service, and though its official launch was postponed from December to the first quarter, it’s still been quite active in recent months. Jio has begun marketing its own LYF brand of smartphones and begun offering those phones to its employees to put its networks through their paces. It turns out many of those internal testers have downloaded the OpenSignal app so we’re starting to see those measurements show up in our data.

In those tests the Jio network is delivering some impressive speeds, averaging 17.34 Mbps on the downlink and 3.34 Mbps on the uplink. But take those numbers with a grain of salt. Jio’s network isn’t commercially launched so there aren’t many devices competing for its capacity. Of the 141 Jio users we have contributing to our database, they all seem to be sticking close to Jio’s coverage footprint. In our 2,500 or so tests, Jio devices were able to connect to the LTE network 93% of time. As Jio launches commercially that number is sure to drop considerably.

We may not have many measurements on Jio’s network, but those tests are widely dispersed across India, confirming just how big the operator’s ambitions are. Unlike Jio’s established competitors, Jio has a nationwide license, and a nationwide network is exactly what it appears to be building.  We detected Jio LTE signals in most of India’s major cities and state capitals, including Delhi, Chennai, Kolkata Bengaluru, Kochi, Hyderabad, Visakhapatnam, Ahmedabad, Lucknow, Indore, Chandigarh and Jaipur. We also saw LTE in a lot of much smaller cities, including a surprising number of tests conducted throughout the eastern state of Jharkhand. You can see for yourself where we’ve detected Jio’s networks on the interactive coverage maps on OpenSignal’s website.

Jharkhand Screenshot

The green dots represents network measurements taken by OpenSignal users, and there are a surprising number of distributed throughout Jharkhand.

Of course, these are only the places we’ve mapped through a very limited number of tests. Jio’s network is likely present in many more cities we still haven’t detected yet. When Jio officially launches we hope to get plenty more readings as Indian consumers download the OpenSignal app onto their new Jio phones. In fact, we invite everyone in India with an Android device or iPhone to join our crowdsourced community to help us paint a more detailed picture of India’s cellular and Wifi networks.

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