Despite being a major internet market, consumers in India are yet to experience high speed and reliable internet connections. They complain about poor mobile broadband speeds. Even the shift to 4G network has not solved problems faced by them.
India has moved up on the 4G LTE (fourth-generation long term evolution) availability rankings with Reliance Jio’s entry last year. Jio’s nationwide 4G launch in September made 4G services far more accessible in the country, but at the expense of lower average speeds. The problem of poor internet connectivity is not just a rural phenomenon and even pockets in cities like Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai and Kolkata, are facing problems due to slow speed on their mobile data.
Manshi Arora, who is associated with Open Signal, a company that specialises in wireless coverage mapping, told The Sunday Guardian: “The 4G speed in the country is comparatively slower than even Sri Lanka which is shocking.”
Service providers Bharti Airtel, Vodafone and RCom (Reliance Communications) did not reply to The Sunday Guardian’s queries on poor internet speed. Also, despite repeated attempts to contact Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) chairman and secretary, the regulatory authority did not respond.
While TRAI has already set the Quality of Service (QoS) for wired broadband internet services at 512Kbps as minimum download speed, there is no QoS rules set on the download speeds that people get with their mobile data connection.
According to Netwin Infosolutions, an international internet watchdog agency, the data service package that promises 8 Mbps in the country hardly provides services at 5 Mbps (Mbps is megabits per second, a measure of internet speed) on the wired connection. The problem of speed is patchier than wired connection in the country. B.S. Rajput, a telecom expert working with the Netwin Infosolutions, told The Sunday Guardian: “Data provider companies are simply maximising data connection sales, without offering good network quality. Most of them are not investing much to improve the proper bandwidth distribution system which has impacted internet speed across the country.”