By Zia Askari | TelecomDrive.com
In today’s telecom business – it is not about voice anymore, data is considered to be a hot commodity and more precisely – speed at which data gets downloaded or uploaded – often separates the leader from the rest of the pack.
This is where OpenSignal recent report has crowned Airtel for delivering greater data speeds and enabling wonderful experience for its customers in India.
In an exclusive interaction after the release of its first India focused report, Brendan Gill, CEO & Co Founder- OpenSignal spke about the status of 4G networks in India.
“India’s mobile broadband technologies are seeing a solid growth across the country. Indian’s Mobile operators are constantly driving in making LTE services available across all major cities of India but still India has a long way to go to match global standards in term of speeds. According to OpenSignal State of LTE report, global average 4G download speeds are around 17.4 mbps whereas OpenSignal’s users in India experienced an average LTE download speed at around 11.4 Mbps. Many countries are now pushing their average speed limits to around 30 Mbps,” he added.
Confirming on India’s 4G getting even stronger as we move ahead, Gill explained, “We don’t make projections for future but it’s safe to say that India is heading down to the path where the availability of 4G is only going to boom. If India follows the same pattern as other 4G countries though, 4G will gain more prominence as an internet technology, while 2G and 3G networks will become less important for mobile data.”
Importance of Customer Experience
Whether it is downloading pictures, playing games or watching a video – next generation network is all about delivering the right customer experience to customer communities and in the case of 4G it is even more important to live up to great expectations that customers often have.
“You will see that OpenSignal doesn’t award an overall ‘winner’ category in our reports and analysis for metros, or indeed nationwide. Our latest Report makes awards to Airtel for data speeds, Jio for LTE availability and Vodafone for network latency. We consider Mobile experience to be a very personal matter. Users of mobile services have differing needs and habits; therefore different aspects of mobile experience will have varying levels of importance for different individuals. OpenSignal analyses and reports on a range of metrics so a complete picture of ‘experience’ can be considered,” he added.
Speaking on the issue of latency, Gill mentions that, “There is often a lot of focus on network ‘speeds’. That is only part of the story. We believe signal availability is a very important but often overlooked aspect of mobile experience. You can have the fastest LTE connection in the world, but if you can only find that connection 25% of the time, it’s not very useful. An operator that provides a much slower but more consistent LTE connection is often providing a much better user experience than an operator with a fast network but spotty signals.
Latency, which is a gauge of a network’s reaction speed, is another metric that often gets overlooked. The most important apps are often communications apps (Skype, VoLTE, Facetime), and for communications apps to work effectively there needs to be relatively little lag in network response time. Our latency metric measures the amount of time it takes for a data packet to travel from a phone through the network and back.”
The Holy Grail for Better Networks
At a time when operators look for adding coverage, while at the same time looking forward to adding capacity – Brendan Gill from OpenSignal says that it can all be done with the help of a three pronged strategy.
“There are basically three routes to adding capacity in wireless networks: buy more spectrum, improve spectral efficiency and continued investment to increase the number of cells and/or sectors. By far the most commonly utilized route is increasing the number of cells and sectors,” he confirms.