OpenSignal’s Latest State of LTE Report Highlights Reliance Jio’s Impact in India

OpenSignal’s Latest State of LTE Report Highlights Reliance Jio’s Impact in India

OpenSignal has released its latest State of LTE report, giving us a look at the current state of 4G services across the world. While the rest of the world moved forward marginally since the last State of LTE report in November 2016, India’s 4G scenario saw some dramatic changes brought about by Reliance Jio’s entry into the 4G LTE scene in the country. Jio’s launch in September 2016 brought inexpensive and virtually-unlimited 4G data plans to the country, and ended up getting more than 100 Million subscribers in the free usage period.

South Korea continues to lead the pack on the availability of 4G services with users in the country remaining connected to a 4G connection 96.38% of the time. India jumped up from 71.6% availability to 82% in the six months between the reports, giving it a spot in the top 20 countries in the world for 4G availability. This massive jump was courtesy of Reliance Jio’s launch and aggressive marketing which boosted India’s overall 4G availability.

The best speeds for 4G are enjoyed by residents of Singapore (45.62 Mbps), as South Korea’s average speeds saw a decline from the last report.

Jio’s aggressive launch in the India coupled with its freebie-launch period wherein it distributed 4G LTE SIM cards with unlimited data absolutely free of charge to any and all led to a decline in the average 4G speeds in the country as more and more users jumped onto the network. India now sits on the second-last position in OpenSignal’s 75 nations 4G speed analysis, averaging just 5.2 Mbps compared to the global average of 16.4 Mbps and only marginally better than the global average 3G speed of 4.4 Mbps.

The slowest speeds in India were experienced on Jio’s LTE network, which is not a surprise to anyone following Jio’s meteoric success. But, Jio users had the best availability of a 4G network, getting a 4G connection more than 90% of the time. This is in contrast to the ~60% 4G connection availability enjoyed by India’s other providers like Airtel and Vodafone. Jio’s widespread availability despite being a relative “newcomer” in the telecom space is thanks to its position as a 4G-only operator in India. Jio deployed its LTE infrastructure as an umbrella network and not as an overlay as it has no 2G or 3G services to fall back on.

However, there is one interesting aspect to keep in mind when looking at Jio’s numbers. OpenSignal’s report bears a sample period of January 1st to March 31st 2017. Jio’s freebie period was scheduled to end on March 31st 2017 (and was later extended to April 15th). So all of Jio’s success as noted in the report came from “freeloaders” and not from Jio’s paying customers. Jio’s 100 Million+ subscriber number is thus a poor benchmark for Jio’s success as a telecom company in the long run, as it remains to be seen how many of these subscribers were actually retained by the company and converted into paying customers.

What are your thoughts on the latest State of LTE report? Do you think Jio has been able to maintain its launch momentum past its freebie launch period? Let us know in the comments below!

Source: OpenSignal

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