Jio has accrued a user base of 125 million within a year of launching operations, a feat of which almost any company would be envious. Of course, this exponential growth is credited to the extremely low-cost data plans and free calls the company has offered to consumers, who have joined the network at a rate of 7 new users per second. However, it seems this growth has come at a cost: slow Internet speeds. Reliance Jio delivers the slowest 4G LTE speeds in India even as it provides the second best "average peak speed," according to a new report by OpenSignal. TRAI's MySpeed app, on the other hand, has consistently ranked the Jio network as the country's fastest 4G network.
Jio 4G speed
The report by the London-based OpenSignal, which evaluates the quality of network and their coverage area, claims that even as Reliance Jio's average 4G LTE speed is 3.9Mbps, the average peak speed - when the network is performing at optimal conditions - stands at 50Mbps. The test shows the results between the period December 2016 and February 2017.
OpenSignal reaffirms that most of the time, subscribers are not able to avail the peak speed. But every once in a while, they "stumble onto an incredibly fast connection." OpenSignal said one of the reasons why Reliance Jio's network aren't fully optimised have something to do with just the volume of data people are consuming on its network.
4G download speeds: Airtel vs Idea vs Jio vs Vodafone
Photo Credit: OpenSignal
"[...] Heavy usage is bound to tax any network, forcing users to vie against one another for bandwidth. Our data shows that Jio's slow average 4G speeds aren't a technical limitation, but rather a capacity bottleneck. As Jio adds more capacity - either through new spectrum or building more cell sites - or as Jio's mobile data consumption levels drop, then its typical download speeds should increase," the company wrote in a blog post.
"..there's a huge difference between Jio's everyday speeds and its optimal speeds," the post added.
In comparison to Jio's peak speed of 50Mbps, the average peak speeds on Airtel, Vodafone, and Idea are 56.9Mbps, 36.5Mbps, and 29.8Mbps, OpenSignal said.
Photo Credit: OpenSignal
The Internet speed by different telecom operators has been the source of debate and dispute among them over the past year. OpenSignal's report suggests that Vodafone and Idea offer twice as fast average LTE speeds than Jio, and Airtel's offering is nearly three times that by Jio. This claim is corroborated by Internet firm Ookla, which runs popular Speedtest service, but numbers from TRAI suggest that Reliance Jio has the fastest download speeds.
For its test, OpenSignal told Gadgets 360 it collected data from 93,464 users in the three months between December and February.
"We collected availability, speed and latency data from all of those users, but for the peak speed analysis we focused only on the devices that conduced multiple speed tests over the three month period," Kevin Fitchard, analyst at OpenSignal explained how OpenSignal performs its tests.
"We then took the best 4G speed test from each device. Of those top speed tests we took the top (fastest) 5 percent and averaged the results for each operator. The resulting number was the average peak speed metric," he added.