Even with the pandemic stressing mobile networks a bit more than usual, network quality rankings in India didn’t change much between May to July 2020 and the three months before that. Airtel continued to hold on to its leads in 4G download speeds, VoIP calling, and video streaming, according to a report released on Monday by telecom analytics firm Opensignal. The company said its rankings this quarter were based on 16.3 billion measurements from 8.5 million phones.
Airtel also topped a new category for gaming, which measures latency and other factors that come into play during multiplayer gaming on mobile data networks. Here’s who topped each category:
This is the first report from Opensignal that does not consider data from Idea, whose network has been fully merged into Vodafone India’s, under the brand name Vi. Vi has inherited Vodafone’s sole leadership position in these rankings: upload speeds.
Games experience in India lacking
These are the scores out of 100 for gaming on mobile networks in India:
Even the winner, Airtel, hardly managed a national average over 55.6 out of 100. Meanwhile, T-Mobile in the US scored 71.4 out of 100, and even the worst operator in that country under this category, Sprint, was able to outrun Airtel, scoring 59.9 out of 100.
Jio scoring lower than Airtel and Vi is interesting, as the telco has extensively rolled out fiber in its networks, but still seems to lag in latency-sensitive multiplayer gaming.
Video streaming mediocre too
Video streaming was a letdown for all operators too, but this seems to be the case even in the US and Brazil, with no telco scoring over 70 out of 100. More well-connected countries like South Korea, though, have had streaming experience on mobile networks rated consistently higher than 70 out of 100. The three private operators were largely similar in their performance, while BSNL lagged far behind.
VoIP experience strong for all telcos
At least as far as VoIP calling is concerned, Indian telcos don’t lag much behind their US counterparts. While Airtel won out, all telcos, even BSNL to a certain extent, were able to pull off a decent internet calling experience for users. Voice calling is not very data intensive, and is less latency-sensitive than multiplayer gaming, so this makes sense.
Jio lags behind in download speeds
In another indicator that Jio inexplicably doesn’t perform well, download speeds seem to be a pain point for the telco’s users, in spite of it being an LTE-only network without any lower-speed 3G or 4G networks — both Vi and Airtel have comfortable leads over the telco in these measurements.
Jio tops 4G availability, coverage
Jio has topped 4G availability and coverage indicators. Coverage refers to the geographical spread of 4G availability, whereas availability measures how long a 4G subscriber is actually connected to a 4G network. On top of Jio’s reception being available in a wide area, it’s worth noting that it doesn’t have any legacy networks, so any Jio signal is a 4G signal. Airtel has been closing in on both fronts, Opensignal said in its report.
Vi tops upload speeds
Vi topped upload speeds by a significant margin, maintaining Vodafone’s lead in the category. At 2.8 and 2.3, Airtel and Jio fade in comparison to Vi’s 3.5.
These rankings are a national average of each telco. Results vary, sometimes widely, between individual cities. The report has this data for 49 cities, including the tier 1 cities and some tier 2 and 3 cities.