Reliance Jio claims to be India's fastest 4G network provider. It says its network and technology are superior to rival telcos and is therefore able to offer faster mobile internet. However, data released by the telecom regulator yesterday showed that it in fact was the slowest network provider in the country amongst the top 5. What's going on?
Jio's download speed is 6.25 Mbps on an average. While Airtel sits on the top position with 11.4 Mbps download speed for 4G.
TRAI is not alone in saying this though. Oolka, which owns the famous network speed testing website speedtest.net also published a report saying Jio's mean download speed has fallen to 8.77 Mbps by the month of September compared with 11.31 Mbps the previous month.
Jio's speeds also vary a lot between the northern and southern regions of the country. Kashmir registers the highest mean download speed for Jio at 11.18 Mbps, while Kerala has the worst mean download speed of 3.74 Mbps. The results are the same for the upload speeds.
The company today said two factors were distorting the picture. The testing method and the daily caps on free data use imposed on Jio customers during the trial period currently underway (Jio launches commercially only next year).
The company says that when its customers exhaust the daily data limit on 4G speeds, it brings them down to a 256 Kpbs connection, which is when customers tend to run the speed test. In comparison, most other telcos cut off service, which means the user cannot conduct the speedtest till the next data cycle. Besides, Jio has a daily data cycle during its free trial period, while rivals have a monthly data cycle. So the cutoff happens only once a month. This, the company says, is skewing the real picture, and its customers are indeed enjoying "unmatched 4G LTE speeds".
Jio's statement in full is below:
Historically, we have observed that a disproportionate number of speed tests are performed once the FUP comes into effect. This is so since most users don't consider performing the test until they observe a deterioration of speed. Such users also tend to perform multiple tests until full speeds are restored.
Given that data usage under Jio Welcome Offer is completely free, a higher proportion of Jio users run up against the FUP limit. In comparison, not all non-Jio users have FUP based plans (rather their usage is completely stopped, and they are entirely prevented from performing the speed test), and even those who have FUP based plans face this situation only once a month.
Further, such customers tend to recharge quickly and restore full speeds. This difference in the offer structures, and associated customer behaviors, result in a large proportion of the speed tests being conducted on Jio network when the speeds are reduced via FUP to 256kbps.
This has the effect of dragging the average far below the speeds experienced by Jio customers who are enjoying full 4G LTE speeds. Having said that, we continuously measure the speeds experienced by Jio customers – adjusting for factors such as FUP, and are proactively working to improve service levels for all our customers
As more and more customers are being added to the Jio network everyday, there are many challenges coming up.
Recently TRAI also released a mandate saying Jio has to end its welcome offer by 3 December because the 90-day regulation period of inaugural offer are over at that date. The consumers buying a Jio SIM after 3 December have to pay for the plans announced by Jio at the launch.