India showcases maximum 4G coverage but has the slowest speeds worldwide: Report

The regulator OpenSignal attributes India’s big 4G splash to Jio’s nationwide launch.

OpenSignal, a company that deep dives into wireless coverage mapping has put out its new State of LTE report. The report which takes a deep dive into the first six months of the current year, delivers interesting insights in to the state of LTE networks at a global level. Sure enough it comes at a time when talks of 5G are already on the rise. But as the report points out, 4G has yet to reach its full potential, with only a handful of countries taking the technology to its limits.

Delving deeper, LTE continues to spread out across the globe with some countries in East Asia showing spread of LTE signals as much as 2G or 3G signals.

Another point which was a bit shocking was that the fast keep getting faster with about 15 countries that now deliver typical downloads that go beyond the 30 Mbps mark.

On the other hand, the global LTE speeds are showing a drop. Open signal said that this was expected to happen “as more countries bring lower capacity networks online.”

When it comes to 4G speed, Singapore sits at the very top of the chart. The country, according to OpenSignal’s crowdsourced data showcased the highest 4G speeds in the world topping 45 Mbps. South Korea came in second with Hungary in third place.

While it was an achievement for India to make it to the chart, the country was listed at the very bottom of the lengthy list with speeds hovering around 5 Mbps.

In the infographic below you can see how India sits in a rather odd quarter (marked with the bright red dot, top left). More on this later.

Coming to availability, South Korea once again sits at the top, with Japan coming in at second place and Norway at third. India surprisingly showed up in the top 20 which is a commendable effort for a country that only recently hopped on to 4G and LTE networks.

Open Signal report stated, “The Jio-inspired 4G revolution in India has sent that country rocketing up our availability charts.” hinting how Jio’s widespread availability and affordable pricing has made adoption easier.

The same report also pointed out that India had a 4G availability rating of 81.6 percent and also explicitly mentions that there was "a very unique case of a single operator having an enormous impact on the local 4G market.”

OpenSignal’s most recent report showed that the new entrant Reliance Jio had provided a big push for India’s overall 4G availability. The nationwide launch attracted 100 million subscribers in a time frame of just six months.

 India showcases maximum 4G coverage but has the slowest speeds worldwide: Report

Image: Open Signal

While things are looking up for 4G connectivity in India, it’s the speeds that are worrisome. The report showed that a majority of the LTE networks in countries like Costa Rica and India with average 4G speeds are very close to the global average 3G speeds.

“And as these countries ramp up their 4G services they’re bringing hundreds of millions of new LTE subscriptions online. That’s one of the reasons we saw a drop off in average global LTE speed. We measured the typical LTE connection worldwide at 17.4 Mbps in November, but in our latest test period that average fell to 16.2 Mbps.” said OpenSignal.

Lastly, there also the power versus reach conundrum where the countries with highest speeds are usually the ones running smaller networks. New Zealand has one of the best performing LTE networks but has difficulty delivering the same to subscribers consistently.

However, according to the latest reports South Korea, surely seems to be breaking the norm.

Disclosure: Reliance Industries Ltd. is the sole beneficiary of Independent Media Trust which controls Network18 Media & Investments Ltd

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