In March 2021 India’s newest mobile network operator, Reliance Jio, acquired more spectrum, and it quickly resulted in increased performance on its 4G LTE network.
According to an analysis published by Ookla, based on its Speedtest data, Jio is taking advantage of its new spectrum to boost speeds and ease network congestion. The operator acquired spectrum in the 800, 1800 and 2300 MHz bands — a good mix of coverage and capacity — to support its 4G LTE service. Importantly for Jio, this increased its overall spectrum footprint by 55% and included a number of contiguous blocks of spectrum.
Ookla said that Jio’s performance improved since March with median download speeds increasing from 5.96 Mbps in March 2021 to 13.08 Mbps in June. The company’s net promoter score (NPS) rose from -46.37 in March, to -25.93 in June indicating an improved customer experience and relationship.
5G in India
New spectrum is also critical for future 5G use and continued growth in India’s market. All three major mobile operators, Bharti Airtel, Reliance Jio and Vodafone Idea Limited, are conducting 5G trials. Jio has even begun testing 5G open RAN solutions in several cities, said Ookla.
One of the key benefits of 5G is that it can operate over a wider range of spectrum frequencies than LTE. The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) plans to allocate a wide band of 275 MHz of spectrum in the 3.3-3.6 GHz range (C-Band), which will offer much greater capacity than existing spectrum used for LTE services.
Over the last five years, India has experienced massive growth in mobile broadband. In 2021 70% of the more than 1 billion mobile connections are on either 3G or 4G networks. According to Ericsson’s June 2021 Mobility report, India has one of the highest mobile data use per smartphone globally at 14.6 GB per month, well above the global average of 9 GB.