The remarkable spread of 4G across India continues. Our latest State of Mobile Networks report found LTE availability has increased for every major operator over the last six months, with all of them crossing the 65% milestone, while Jio managed an incredible 96%.
This level of 4G reach is astonishing for an emerging market such as India. In the six years since the launch of commercial LTE services in India in April 2012, the telecoms sector has developed at lightning speed, fuelled by fierce competition and heavy investment in 4G rollout.
We collected billions of measurements from over 700,000 smart device users on the 4G networks of major Indian operators Airtel, Idea, Jio and Vodafone between December and February. Jio won our award for 4G availability, with our users able to access an LTE signal 96.4% of the time. The other operators were a fair way behind the leader, but all had cleared the 65% line, with Vodafone on 68.8%, Idea at 68.2%, and Airtel with 66.8% in our 4G availability metric.
In our latest State of LTE report, which analyzes 4G availability across 88 countries, we found users in India were able to connect to an LTE signal over 86% of the time – a rise of some 10 percentage points from the prior year. This ranked India in 85th percentile in LTE availability worldwide, ahead of many far more mature markets such as Singapore and Switzerland.
But unfortunately this increase in availability has not been matched in 4G speed. Our report found average LTE download speeds in India have largely stagnated – in fact, we tracked slight drops in 4G speeds for three operators. Airtel won our 4G speed award with an average download rate of 9.3 Mbps – but this was well below the global average of 16.9 Mbps, as recorded in our State of LTE report.
Nevertheless, India’s operators should be applauded for their single-minded pursuit of 4G network rollout. While 4G speeds might gain the flashy headlines, it is nothing if you cannot access the network in the first place. India’s four major 4G operators have chosen to steadfastly focus on expanding the breadth of their LTE services, with the main beneficiaries being their users as the country races forward in the 4G revolution.
For a full analysis of the Indian market, including a regional drill down, read our report in full at: State of Mobile Networks: India. Or have a look at how your operator is doing with the help of the OpenSignal app (available on iOS and Android).