India’s 4G usage exploded in 2017 – what can we expect in 2018?

2017 was the year 4G exploded in India. One of the fastest growing mobile markets in the world, India’s current mobile data subscriber penetration stands at 40%, expected to double to 80% by 2022 according to Crisil’s predictions. But while lower generation wireless technologies are still occupying a fair share of the mobile data space, LTE services have taken the leading role in the unprecedented increase of data users in the past year, in large part thanks to a single operator, which I’ll address more in a moment.

The emergence of 4G brought with it free voice calls and low-cost data plans leading to a big boost in data usage. As more consumers received access to 4G connections, a new wealth of applications requiring fast speeds opened up to them, further driving up data consumption.

During the quarter ending June 2017, total data usage stood at over 4.2 million terabytes, out of which 4G data accounted for 3.9 million TBs, according to TRAI. The growth is most visible when checking the numbers from a year ago, when 4G data usage stood at a mere 8,050 TBs; that’s a 500-fold increase.

But being the second largest telecom market in the world with a booming 4G scene means India has its fair share of hurdles it needs to address to continue its upward trajectory.

Among the top 15 in LTE availability worldwide

As we saw in our latest State of LTE report, published in November, LTE availability in India is remarkable: users were able to connect to an LTE signal over 84% of the time, a rise of over 10 percentage points from a year earlier. This places India ahead of more established countries in the 4G landscape such as Sweden, Taiwan, Switzerland or the U.K.

Among the key mobile operators providing 4G services, Jio — which made its debut just over a year ago — has been greatly responsible for advancing the adoption of 4G services in the country. Barely 6 months in the market, Jio already secured its lead in the 4G availability race with our users able to access its LTE signals 91.6% of the time, according to our national report published in April this year. No other mobile operator managed to score higher than 60% in these tests. Six months later, we saw significant improvements in availability across all major operators, with Vodafone and Airtel both increasing their scores by 2 percentage points, and in the case of Idea we saw scores jump by 4 percentage points. But those improvements weren’t enough to close the gap with Jio, which was able to provide an LTE signal at a jaw-dropping 95.6% of the time in the same test period.

Jio’s widespread 4G access, along with its at-first free and later heavily discounted data and voice plans, quickly won the hearts — and wallets — of more than 100 million mobile users across the country.

With operators rolling out low-cost data plans to grow their consumer bases, and manufacturers launching affordable 4G smartphones enabling a greater slice of the population to get connected, we expect 4G availability to maintain its rising trajectory across the country.

4G speeds cannot keep up with demand

While LTE availability saw a meteoric rise, the same cannot be said of 4G speeds. In our latest State of LTE report, India occupied the lowest spot among the 77 countries we examined, with average download speeds of 6.1 Mbps, over 10 Mbps lower than the global average.

A key reason for the strikingly low speeds is the rapid increase in 4G users across all the networks. As 4G adoption rose, and more and more consumers subscribed to 4G services, the networks experienced congestion, resulting in a decrease in average download speeds across the board. 4G users on the networks of Idea, Vodafone and Airtel all witnessed a drop in average 4G download speeds over the course of 2017.

Meanwhile Jio trended the opposite direction in 4G speed. In our April report Jio had the slowest 4G speed in our India tests, but as soon as Jio’s freebie plan ended in April 2017, we recorded an astonishing 50% increase in their speed (from 3.9 Mbps to 5.8 Mbps) over the course of six months, which still placed Jio at the lowest end of the speed spectrum but with a significantly narrower gap.

India’s 4G future – what will 2018 bring?

India’s mobile data ecosystem has experienced tremendous growth in the past years, and recent trend reports suggest nothing less for the years to come. With operators continuing their investments in LTE, manufacturers launching affordable 4G-enabled smartphones and the government’s focus on creating a connected society, the various pieces of the connectivity puzzle are gradually falling into place.

But how will India’s mobile users experience 4G in 2018?

Jio’s market entry kicked off an intense price war in the telecom scene resulting in offerings of cheaper LTE services from all operators, driving more consumers to 4G than ever before, a trend we expect will continue next year. Whether Jio remains the huge dominant driver in 4G growth remains to be seen. After a year of free and steeply discounted data pricing, Jio may make 2018 the year it raises prices. That could level the playing field for India’s operators.

In addition, the expected consolidation of the telecom market will likely lead to several operators combining their spectrum holdings, which could provide India the necessary boost in speed. These more powerful combined networks would provide more capacity as well as support more sophisticated LTE-Advanced technology, increasing average speeds available to consumers.

2018 will see India gradually move away from being a developing 4G country; overcoming the hiccups necessary to become a full-grown 4G power.

This entry was posted in Mobile Trends and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

60 Responses to India’s 4G usage exploded in 2017 – what can we expect in 2018?

  1. Pingback: India Will Be 100% 4G Nation In 2018; OpenSignal Report

  2. Pingback: Reliance Jio may once again raise prices of recharges in January - Apk Installer 2018

  3. Pingback: Jio May Raise Prices in 2018, Levelling Playing Field in India: OpenSignal – TheTechWorld

  4. Pingback: Jio May Raise Prices in 2018, Levelling Playing Field in India: OpenSignal | Future Technology News 2018

  5. Pingback: Jio May Raise Prices in 2018, Levelling Playing Field in India: OpenSignal > FutureTechnologyNews 2018

  6. Pingback: Jio May Raise Prices in 2018, Levelling Playing Field in India: OpenSignal - Technewssites

  7. Pingback: Jio May Raise Prices in 2018, Levelling Playing Field: OpenSignal | Latest News, Breaking News Today - Bollywood, Cricket, Business, Politics - IndiaToday.News

  8. Pingback: Jio May Raise Prices in 2018, Levelling Playing Field in India: OpenSignal | My Tech News Today

  9. Pingback: Jio May Raise Prices in 2018, Levelling Playing Field in India: OpenSignal ⋆ The Tech World

  10. Pingback: Jio May Raise Prices in 2018, Levelling Playing Field in India: OpenSignal – Tech News Sites

  11. Pingback: Reliance Jio May Raise Data Prices in 2018: OpenSignal – TheTechWorld

  12. Pingback: Reliance Jio May Raise Data Prices in 2018: OpenSignal | My Tech News Today

  13. Pingback: Reliance Jio May Raise Data Prices in 2018: OpenSignal > FutureTechnologyNews 2018

  14. Pingback: Reliance Jio May Raise Data Prices in 2018: OpenSignal » MyTechNewsToday

  15. Pingback: Reliance Jio May Raise Data Prices in 2018: OpenSignal | Future Technology News 2018

  16. Pingback: Reliance Jio May Raise Data Prices in 2018: OpenSignal ⋆ The Tech World

  17. Pingback: Reliance Jio May Raise Data Prices in 2018: OpenSignal - Technewssites

  18. Pingback: Reliance Jio May Raise Data Prices in 2018: OpenSignal | Latest News, Breaking News Today - Bollywood, Cricket, Business, Politics - IndiaToday.News

  19. Pingback: Reliance Jio May Raise Data Prices in 2018: OpenSignal - Trending A to Z

  20. Pingback: Reliance Jio May Raise Data Prices in 2018: OpenSignal - NewsEleven

  21. Pingback: India Has Slowest Average 4G Speeds in the World: OpenSignal | Latest News, Breaking News Today - Bollywood, Cricket, Business, Politics - IndiaToday.News

  22. Pingback: India Has Slowest Average 4G Speeds in the World: OpenSignal » MyTechNewsToday

  23. Pingback: India Has Slowest Average 4G Speeds in the World: OpenSignal – TechPreachers.com

  24. Pingback: India Has Slowest Average 4G Speeds in the World: OpenSignal > FutureTechnologyNews 2018

  25. Pingback: India Has Slowest Average 4G Speeds in the World: OpenSignal - Technewssites

  26. Pingback: India Has Slowest Average 4G Speeds in the World: OpenSignal | My Tech News Today

  27. Pingback: India Has Slowest Average 4G Speeds in the World: OpenSignal ⋆ The Tech World

  28. Pingback: Reliance Jio May Raise Data Prices in 2018: OpenSignal – BBC India News

  29. Pingback: India Has Slowest Average 4G Speeds in the World: OpenSignal - NewsEleven

  30. Pingback: India Has Slowest Average 4G Speeds in the World: OpenSignal | DRUVAAN Softech | DRUVAAN Softech

  31. Pingback: India Has Slowest Average 4G Speeds in the World: OpenSignal – TheTechWorld

  32. Pingback: India Has Slowest Average 4G Speeds in the World: OpenSignal – Tech News Sites

  33. Pingback: India Has Slowest Average 4G Speeds in the World: OpenSignal | Future Technology News 2018

  34. Pingback: No more Reliance Jio Offers? Report Says Data Prices May increase in 2018 - Tech Wire

  35. Pingback: India Has Slowest Average 4G Speeds in the World: OpenSignal - TechMasair

  36. Pingback: India Has Slowest Average 4G Speeds in the World: OpenSignal – Webz Site

  37. Pingback: India Has Slowest Average 4G Speeds in the World: OpenSignal - Times of News India

  38. Pingback: India Has Slowest Average 4G Speeds in the World: OpenSignal | Freevoice

  39. Pingback: India Has Slowest Average 4G Speeds in the World: OpenSignal

  40. Pingback: India Has Slowest Average 4G Speeds in the World: OpenSignal | Techvoge

  41. Pingback: India Has Slowest Average 4G Speeds in the World: OpenSignal - Trending A to Z

  42. Pingback: India Has Slowest Average 4G Speeds in the World: OpenSignal - PhoneArenaPro

  43. Pingback: Reliance Jio May Raise Data Prices in 2018: OpenSignal - PhoneArenaPro

  44. Pingback: India takes first 5G step after its 4G service is ranked world’s slowest - BitShare

  45. Pingback: India takes first 5G step after its 4G service is ranked world’s slowest – Technology NEWS

  46. Pingback: India takes first 5G step after its 4G service is ranked world’s slowest - Rapitful Shqip

  47. Pingback: India takes first 5G step after its 4G service is ranked world’s slowest

  48. Pingback: India takes first 5G step after its 4G service is ranked world's slowest | Ask Ms AC Kennedy

  49. Pingback: India takes first 5G step after its 4G service is ranked world’s slowest | Domain Industry News

  50. Pingback: India takes first 5G step after its 4G service is ranked world’s slowest | Give Info

  51. Pingback: India takes first 5G step after its 4G service is ranked world’s slowest – Next Gen Technology

  52. Pingback: India takes first 5G step after its 4G service is ranked world’s slowest - Hawkins Global Pte Ltd

  53. Pingback: India takes first 5G step after its 4G service is ranked world’s slowest – Technology Blog

  54. Pingback: India takes first 5G step after its 4G service is ranked world's slowest - VentureBeat - MVNO MVNE MNO Mobile & Telecoms industry intelligence

  55. Pingback: India takes first 5G step after its 4G service is ranked world’s slowest - Startup Content

  56. Pingback: India takes first 5G step after its 4G service is ranked world’s slowest - Profit Agency

  57. Pingback: India takes first 5G step after its 4G service is ranked world's slowest ... - VentureBeat - MVNO MVNE MNO Mobile & Telecoms industry intelligence

  58. Pingback: India takes first 5G step after its 4G service is ranked world’s slowest – Appshri

  59. Pingback: India takes first 5G step after its 4G service is ranked world’s slowest – ContactInBio Blog

  60. Pingback: India takes first 5G step after its 4G service is ranked world’s slowest – S&A – Nader Group

Leave a Reply