India to become full 4G power in 2018: Report

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From a rising 4G nation, India is all set to develop into a full-grown power in 2018, an OpenSignal report has said. Based on predictions by Crisil, the data penetration in India will grow from 40 % to 80 % by 2020. As per the report, India’s growth in 4G has been propelled by the entry of Reliance Jio. Internet users have been able to access Jio’s LTE signals 91.6 % of the time, in just 6 months of its launch. Interestingly, Jio was positioned at the top of the list as rival companies like Airtel & Vodafone could not manage to score even above 60 %, according to the report. However the incumbents saw upgradations in the next six months, yet they could not manage to gain an edge over Jio, which enhanced the score to 95.6 % in that period.

Telecom companies have been providing free voice calls and inexpensive data plans and they have been one of the key reasons for a boost in 4G connections. Moreover, the companies have also announced cheap 4G mobiles in India and the impact will soon be seen. As per the report, out of a total data usage of 4.2 million terabytes, 4G data accounted for 3.9 million TBs, during the quarter ending June 2017. TRAI has said that this number is 500 times more in terms of 4G data usage. A year ago when the number stood at 8,050 TBs.

India is the second biggest telecom market in the world and when it comes to LTE availability; it is ahead of countries like Sweden, Taiwan, Switzerland, even the UK. In India, “users were able to connect to an LTE signal over 84% of the time, a rise of over 10 percentage points from a year earlier.”

OpenSignal, in its report, pointed out, “While LTE availability saw a meteoric rise and the same cannot be said of 4G speeds. In our latest State of LTE report, India occupied the lowest spot among the 77 countries we examined, with average download speeds of 6.1 Mbps, over 10 Mbps lower than the global average.”

Another fascinating thing to note is that Indians experienced a drop in average download speeds during 2017, owing to network clogging. As more and more users subscribed to 4G services, the networks experienced obstruction, which resulted in slower download speeds across networks.

Low-cost data prices will persist to attract people to 4G in 2018 as well, though Jio could raise its prices as well, the report said. “Also, the expected consolidation of the telecom market will likely lead to several operators merging their spectrum holdings, which could give India the essential boost in speed,” the report said.

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