Reliance Jio’s network speeds have “skyrocketed” in recent months, as the operator begins to overcome some of the early challenges it faced after launch last year, according to a new OpenSignal study.
OpenSignal, which will release its second State of Mobile Networks report for India in a few weeks, revealed Reliance Jio has seen a huge improvement in 4G speeds, particularly since April, when most of the company’s free data offers ended.
OpenSignal’s last report for India showed that Reliance Jio ranked bottom in India for 4G speeds due to a network overload that was creating a capacity bottleneck and slowing down connections for customers.
It found that Jio’s average peak speed could hit 50Mb/s, 13 times faster than the speeds its customers were receiving, a total of 3.9Mb/s.
Reliance Jio came to the market in September last year with the offer of free 4G data to snare subscribers as part of a promotion, and captured more than 100 million subscribers within a few months.
As the free promotion period ended in April, OpenSignal found that Reliance Jio’s network saw a “steady rise in average 4G speed all the way until the end of July”, following on from an initial uptick in speeds in February.
“In the last six months, Jio’s typical 4G download has ballooned from 3.9Mb/s to 5.8Mb/s – that’s almost a 50 per cent increase in speed, which is frankly astonishing,” wrote OpenSignal analyst Kevin Fitchard in a blog.
Fitchard said the sudden influx of bandwidth could be because Jio had upgraded its network, “adding capacity to feed its customers’ unquenchable thirst for data”.
The improvement could also be explained by the company losing subscribers after the free data promotions ended. However, Fitchard cited an America Merrill Lynch survey, which found that most Jio customers “weren’t likely to jump ship”.
Other possible explanations included the theory that customers were reining in their data use, now that they have to pay for what they use.
“Chances are, it’s a combination of multiple factors,” said Fitchard. “The bottom line is the typical mobile data experience on Jio’s network has improved dramatically in a relatively short period of time.”
OpenSignal added that further improvements are expected to be seen in the next few months.
Jio’s network is “one of the more technologically powerful LTE systems in India”, noted Fitchard.