As India gears up for the launch of 5G network on its 75th Independence Day, Ookla released its insights on the impact of the recent allocation of spectrum and roll out of 5G technology on the overall network performance of the country. According to Ookla insights the launch of 5G network in India has the potential to increase the median download speeds (5G vs 4G-LTE) up to 10 times from the current position. The findings are based on Speedtest data from other markets in Asia that have recently launched 5G (Thailand and the Philippines both launched 5G in Q1 2020 and Q2 2020 respectively) that shows the differential between 4G-LTE and 5G speeds was on average approximately 9-10x in Q2 2021.
According to Ookla, as of June 2021, 64.5% of 4G users in India could expect to achieve download speeds in excess of 5 Mbps, the speed required to stream HD video content, up from 52.9% in March. It’s impossible to say exactly how fast 5G will be for the average Indian user, given uncertainty over exact spectrum allocations and rollout plans (including the radio access network and improvements to backhaul and transport networks), but it’s safe to say 5G will bring a considerable bump to overall speeds in the country.
The data mapped by Ookla is already showing an increase in Jio’s performance since March 2021. The operator’s median download speeds have increased from 5.96 Mbps in March 2021 to 13.08 Mbps in June. It’s upload speeds and Consistency Score™ (% of samples which exceed 5 Mbps download and 1 Mbps upload) also saw considerable improvements. Additionally, the NPS score (the relative weight of a brand’s promoters and detractors) also rose from -46.37 in March, to -25.93 in June.
Currently, India clearly lags behind the markets that have already begun the 5G deployments, such as the U.K. and U.S. However in recent months, all operators have been working behind the scenes to help drive 5G commercialization. They are conducting 5G trials and have shown impressive 5G speeds.
The insights by Ookla further stated that the delay in the 5G rollout would eventually benefit the operators as they can procure the network equipment at a lower cost. The adoption of Open RAN system by the Indian operators will further aid in bringing down the overall cost of 5G rollout. The 5G smartphone prices have already fallen and this trend will continue, spurred in India by partnerships such as Jio Platform’s with Google. Ookla is already witnessing a growing number of Speedtest results running on 5G capable devices in India, which indicates that there will be a pre-installed user base that operators can target from day one of launch.