Independent crowdsourcing data company Tutela has come out with its India State of Mobile Experience – March 2021 analyzing the mobile network experience across India. Tutela analyzed over 31 million speed and latency tests taken from real-world smartphone users collected between August 1, 2020, and January 31, 2021.
Tutela uses two key methodological components to compare user experience across operators: Consistent Quality and Common Coverage Areas. Consistent Quality is a measure to evaluate how connection networks enable users to do almost everything they want to do on their smartphones.
The company’s findings saw Airtel establish dominance among Indian operators winning first place in four out of two six categories that were tested. Airtel had the highest Excellent Consistent Quality at 56.6% as well as the highest Core Consistent Quality of 83.7% in Common Coverage areas across the country. Airtel also outperformed other operators for median download speeds and latency.
Vodafone Idea (Vi) took the lead in the upload throughput category with a median upload speed of 5.2 Mbps. Vi was closely followed by Airtel by a median upload speed of 4.5 Mbps.
Jio ranked third behind Airtel and Vodafone Idea (Vi) in five out of six categories came first in the coverage category. The total coverage score for Jio was 595 with a significant difference compared to last-placed BSNL’s score of 316 which heavily relies on 3G technology.
In Common Coverage Areas across India, Airtel had the highest Excellent Consistent Quality at 56.6%. Vodafone Idea (Vi) was behind Airtel with 48.7% and Jio, third with 45.5%. BSNL was a distant fourth with a paltry 15% having a huge gap of 30% between the state-owned operator and third place Jio.
Airtel also ranked first for Core Consistent Quality with 83.7% while Jio managed to be second place at 78.3%. Vodafone Idea (Vi) closely followed Jio at 74.2% while BSNL again had a huge gap trailing Airtel by approximately 23% with a Core Consistent Quality of 50.9%.
Tutela notes that Excellent Consistent Quality is a measure of user experience against common but high-intensity use cases such as 1080p video streaming, live mobile video broadcasting, online gaming, and HD video calls whereas Core Consistent Quality is a measure of user experience against common but low-intensity use cases such as web browsing, social media sharing, and SD video streaming.
Download and Upload throughput
Airtel again left behind other operators with a median download speed of 10 Mbps closely followed by Vodafone Idea with a median download speed of 9.6 Mbps. Jio was a distant third again with a median download speed of 6.5 Mbps download throughput while BSNL was fourth-placed with a download speed of paltry 2.9 Mbps.
Vodafone Idea (Vi) outcompeted Airtel in terms of upload throughput with a median upload speed of 5.2 Mbps while Airtel had an upload throughput of 4.5 Mbps. Jio ranked a distant third with a median upload speed of 3.5 Mbps lagging behind Airtel by only 1 Mbps.
BSNL as usual last placed with a paltry median download speed of 1.8 Mbps.
Airtel again led the category with Airtel subscribers experiencing the most responsive network on average in Common Coverage Areas with a median latency of 24 ms, that is more than 50% lower than Consistent Quality’s threshold of 50 ms.
Vodafone Idea ranked second with a median latency of 26.8 ms while Jio followed at third position with 28.6 ms. BSNL was last placed once again with one-way latency of 48.5 ms – a whopping gap of over 24 ms between BSNL and Airtel. Tutela pinned BSNL’s latency performance on its reliance on 3G technology.
Jio outperformed other operators in this category in terms of the relative observed area with a total coverage score of 595 – which is overwhelmingly made up of 4G coverage and a virtually insignificant amount of older technology due to Jio roaming on old BSNL towers.
Airtel was behind Jio with 5G/4G score of 500 and a total coverage score of 508. Jio had a greater advantage over Vodafone Idea with remarkable gap of over 159 and 204 points for total observed area coverage score and 5G/4G coverage score respectively.
BSNL was again last placed with total coverage score of 316 and a 5G/4G coverage score of just 62. Tutela noted that BSNL’s focus on providing rural coverage often for rural devices didn’t show up on crowdsourced data.