Ahead of many G20 nations at 29.85 Mbps

Reliance Jio, India’s largest telecom operator, has beaten out competitor Bharti Airtel in 5G download speeds, according to data from network intelligence firm Ookla.

According to experts, the reasons for Jio’s faster 5G speeds include a limited number of users on its network connected to a base station at the same time, higher fiberization of its towers, and the deployment of 5G on a standalone architecture, not depends on 4G.

In January, Jio achieved average 5G download speeds above 400 Mbps across 10 telecom circles, while its peer Airtel achieved average 5G download speeds of up to 268.89 Mbps, according to data from Ookla’s Speedtest Intelligence. The maximum download speed on a Jio 5G network was 1.8 Gbps, while for Airtel it was 1.6 Gbps.

“There is another factor at play that may explain the difference in performance between operators: the type of backhaul network they use. Indian operators are heavily dependent on terrestrial wireless backhaul solutions. While fiber penetration in backhaul networks is increasing, according to the Department of Transportation, only a third of mobile towers are connected with fiber, compared to the National Broadband Mission’s goal of 70% connected by 2024,” Ookla said in her report.

To provide high speeds in 5G and handle the load, telecom operators would require a network backhaul that carries the signal between the core site/network and broadband sites. Since the fiber from the towers provides good signal and connectivity, Jio gains an advantage over Airtel as most of its new towers are fiberized, while Airtel relies heavily on a wireless backhaul using E-band spectrum. the experts said.

While Jio has not declared its 5G subscribers on the network, Airtel said it has 10 million 5G subscribers. Both carriers are also using different architectures to implement 5G. Airtel is currently deploying 5G in NSA (not standalone) mode, that is, 5G technology is deployed on top of the 4G network, which means that devices use the existing 4G network for functions such as initiating calls and establishing initial connections, while 5G technology is used for faster data transfers. A non-independent mode is cost effective.

In the case of standalone mode, which is used by Jio, the deployed 5G network is independent of the 4G network.

Due to 5G, average download speeds in India increased 115% to 29.85 Mbps in January from an average download speed of 13.87 Mbps in September last year, Ookla said, adding that India’s ranking on the Global Speedtest Index improved by 49 places to 69 in January from 118 in September of last year. “This puts India ahead of some of the G20 countries such as Mexico, Russia and Argentina, and its neighbors Indonesia, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and Pakistan. India is also catching up with countries like Turkey (an average download speed of 30.98 Mbps/65th place in the global Speedtest index), South Africa (34.71 Mbps/58th place) and Brazil (35.85 Mbps/ 57th place),” Ookla said. .

Interestingly, due to increased smartphone penetration and improved network spend, the average download speed of 5G at 338.12 Mbps is more than 25 times higher than the speed of 4G at 13.3 Mbps. According to In the data, the proportion of users with 5G-enabled devices using the 5G network also increased 55-fold between September 2022 and January, reaching 5.5%.

“We see improvements in LTE speeds (for both Airtel and Jio) in several cities as they are offloading 4G traffic to their 5G network, reducing 4G network congestion. This should be cautioned by the fact that it is still early days for 5G in India, and 5G performance will most likely drop once those networks become commercially available,” Ookla said.

In line with the pace at which 5G is being rolled out in the country, Communications Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw said on Tuesday that there will be 100% coverage of 5G in the country by December 2024.

According to the government, Jio and Airtel have launched 5G in 387 districts, with the deployment of 100,000 base transceiver stations (BTS).

BTS is a piece of equipment that facilitates communication between the telecommunication network and consumer devices.

The reason for a faster pace of 5G coverage can be attributed to competition between the two telecom players for market share, increased data consumption with evolved technology use cases, and more right-of-way related permits. easy to install telecommunication infrastructure.