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  • Fastest mobile network in the country? Here’s what Ookla’s results tells us

    Publish Date: September 05, 2018

    Telecom operators’ need for speed has never been more important than ever before. Over the last 24 months or so, telecom heavyweights Bharti Airtel and Reliance Jio have been jousting to lift the fastest network gong.

    While the government-approved Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) data hands the title to Reliance Jio, the US-based Ookla reports have consistently shown Airtel to have the fastest mobile network in the country.

    Ookla’s latest data speed report is no different. Airtel remains ahead of the pack, with Vodafone a distant second and Jio securing the third spot. Idea came in at fourth.

    Ookla, which started in 2006, places greater emphasis on download speeds, higher weight on the average experience and takes into account the worst-case scenarios of each network. The company’s different methodology may be the reason why its results are different from TRAI’s mySpeed app results.

    However, the different methodology helps us understand how the Big Four of the telecom industry — Airtel, Jio, Vodafone and Idea — perform across their total coverage. Not just that, the consumer experience-heavy methodology also pushes out interesting data. So, let’s look at some of the numbers that cropped up in the fourth edition of the Ookla report:

    Raw speed

    Bharti Airtel had an overall speed score of 10.15 Mbps in the latest report. Vodafone’s speed was 8.31 Mbps and Jio’s speed was clocked at 6.95 Mbps. Idea came fourth with a speed of 6.66 Mbps.

    The previous Ookla report had pegged Airtel’s speed score at 9.06, Vodafone at 8.02, Idea at 7.52 and Jio at 7.33. The comparisons reveal that while Airtel and Vodafone speeds have improved, Reliance Jio’ score has dipped, with Idea faring the worst.

    TRAI’s mySpeed results, meanwhile, show that Reliance Jio is the fastest mobile network by a healthy margin. This month, Jio’s pan-India data speed clocked at 19.9, while Airtel, Vodafone and Idea were recorded at 9.7, 6.4 and 6.2 respectively.

    The other speed tester — OpenSignal — have Airtel in front, followed by Idea, Vodafone and Reliance Jio.

    All-weather speed

    Airtel’s best, average and worst speed are better than that of its peers, according to the Ookla report. Jio has improved its average and worst speeds but has taken a hit on the best speed.

    Interestingly, Jio’s share of total tests on the app have declined sharply from 71% in the previous report to 45% now. These tests are important to calculate the aggregate results.

    While there is no official reason for the decline in total tests, it is no secret that previous Ookla reports have been a sore point for Jio. In fact, Jio took the US data speed tester to the court last year, arguing that Airtel’s ad blitz based on the Ookla report had damaged their reputation in the market. The fact that Ookla branded Airtel as “ officially the fastest network” prompted Jio to point out that the speed testers were not officially recognized by the government of India and neither was it a not-for-profit organization.

    The speed tests have gained traction in recent years in the Indian market. Besides gauging the health of a telecom operator, the data speed numbers help the frontbenchers boost their consumer base. However, due to different speed test results in India, there is no single truth as to which telecom operator is the fastest, there are merely different versions to it.

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