Since the groundbreaking entry of Mukesh Ambani-led Reliance Jio in September 2016, India’s major telecom companies– Bharti Airtel, Idea and Vodafone – have been losing users, revenue, and profits.
The incumbents are making more efforts to regain what they have lost. While market share and profits are still far away, the telecom players seem to respond to the changing dynamics in the market created by disruptive entry of Jio.
According to a study by mobile analytics firm Opensignal, Bharti Airtel emerged as the top network in 4G download speed and video experience during June-August 2019.
As per the Opensignal, on higher resolution video load times accompanied with stops and stutters mid-stream. This means Indian telecom players have a long way to go to improve video viewing experience on 4G or 3G networks.
In download speed, Airtel maintained a significant lead with a winning score of 9.6 Mbps, growing close to 1Mbps. Whereas Vodafone and Idea’s network, as their current overall scores grew by at least 2 Mbps, to reach 7.9 and 7.6 Mbps respectively, outpacing Jio’s Download Speed Experience of 6.7 Mbps, added the report.
Though, Jio continues to lead in 4G Availability measurements, as its scores grew up to 97.8% from 97.5% in the last six months. But Airtel showed the highest improvement in this category, as its scores soared by 3.6 percentage points to score 89.2%.
In Latency Experience, Jio had the fastest network response time of 54.2 milliseconds. Airtel missed the top spot by a difference of 3ms.
Vodafone became the first operator in India to win Opensignal’s new Voice App Experience award, which was held for the first time. It was a close race between the four major operators as all of them earned a 66-74 rating.
The report also for the first time assess the real-world quality of voice communication mobile apps like WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, and Skype. And Vodafone emerged as a winning operator on this metric.
“Indian operators are improving their game. Despite Airtel’s dominance, we saw more or less improvement from all the operators. And if these improvements continue to grow we will see India rank higher in this category as it still had room for organic growth”, said Hardik Khatri, Opensignal analyst.
The report included a deep analysis of 4G Availability, Download and Upload Speed, Latency, Video and Voice Experience in 42 cities. OpenSignal claims to have done analysis using over 10 billion measurements covering 7 million devices.
At present, Jio has the second-largest user base of 34.82 crore till August, according to the latest TRAI data. Vodafone Idea, who despite constant downslide in the number of subscribers, has the largest base of users, 37.5 crore. Airtel reported 5.61 lakh customers exiting its network, pulling down its subscriber base to 32.79 crore.