Be it science, arts, sports or any other field, India has always strived to meet the global levels of competition. So, how is India doing on the telecom front especially with the competition among telecom operators increasing due to 4G? Read on to find out.
What is 4G?
4G is the fourth generation of networking technology. It is faster than 3G. However, what is today marketed as 4G is actually 4G LTE or just LTE. This is because the actual 4G was supposed to give consumers a speed of around 100 Mbps which was, in reality, unattainable. This standard was later relaxed by the International Telecommunications Union-Radio (ITU-R) and telecom operators could market their networks as 4G as long as the speeds were faster than 3G.
Internet speeds in India
Internet speeds began with the humble 1G’s 2.4 kbps speed. The primary services offered by this technology were basic analog protocols and voice services. Next, came the more popular 2G network at a speed of 64 kbps. This technology uses GSM and CDMA to let you send text messages, make digital phone calls, and browse the Internet using GPRS data capabilities. The more recent 3G technology offered speeds between 384 kbps and 2,000 kbps. This helped in getting better Internet connectivity, multimedia messaging, and phone calls. Lastly, we got the 4G technology that runs at speeds ranging from 100 Mbps to 450 Mbps (in reality, this ranges around 3 Mbps and 12 Mbps). Along with speedier and better quality services, 4G also lets you make clearer voice calls.
How India competes on the global level
According to an article in the Economic Times, the Indian average 4G download speed is 5.1 Mbps. This is only marginally higher than the global average 3G speed which is 4.4 Mbps. The global average 4G download speed is 16.2 Mbps.
As per a report by OpenSignal, India stood 15th in terms of 4G availability globally with 81.56 percent. The first three in the list were South Korea, Japan, and Norway with 96.38 percent, 93.48 percent, and 86.96 percent, respectively. In terms of 4G speeds, India stood 74th. The highest speeds were recorded in the countries of Singapore, South Korea, and Hungary at 45.62 Mbps, 43.46 Mbps, and 42.61 Mbps, respectively.
As per the report, India is a unique case in its rise to the top 20 in 4G availability. This is because it is very rare when a single operator has such a great impact on a country’s ranking. Reliance Jio managed to acquire around 100 million subscribers during the first six months of its launch. Overall, Reliance Jio has 91.6 percent network availability measurement and offers high-speed 4G network to its users.
5G: the next in line?
At present, the government has appointed a research team to make sure that India is 5G ready by the year 2020. This team had already filed around 100 patents by December 2016, of which about 10 had already been granted. 5G is expected to give faster Internet speeds as well as handle Internet of Things devices.
Whether India starts focusing on improving on 4G speeds or decides to jump directly into 5G is something that remains to be seen.