India has made a remarkable leap in the global 5G speed rankings, climbing 72 places to reach the 10th spot, according to the latest report by Ookla, a global connectivity analysis platform. The report, which covers the third quarter of 2023, shows that India’s median 5G download speed has improved to 312.26 Mbps, from 13.87 Mbps in September 2022. This puts India ahead of many G20 countries, such as Japan, the UK, Brazil, and South Africa, as well as its neighbours like Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, and Pakistan.
India’s 5G Journey: From Trials to Launches
The boost in India’s 5G performance is largely attributed to the launch of 5G services by two of the leading telecom operators in the country: Airtel and Reliance Jio. Both operators started offering 5G connectivity in select cities in October 2023, after conducting trials and testing their networks for several months. Airtel announced that its 5G services would be available in eight cities: Delhi, Mumbai, Varanasi, Hyderabad, Siliguri, Chennai, Nagpur, and Bengaluru, and would expand across India by March 2024. Reliance Jio, on the other hand, launched its 5G beta trial “Jio True 5G for All” in four cities: Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, and Varanasi, and claimed to have rolled out a 5G Standalone (5G SA) network, which does not rely on its existing LTE network. Jio also offered unlimited 5G data with up to 1 Gbps speeds to its invited users, and planned to deliver its 5G service across the entire country by December 2023. Vodafone India, the third-largest operator in the country, also reiterated its commitment to the 5G roll-out, but did not provide specific timelines.
India’s 5G Speeds: How They Compare with Other Countries
According to the Ookla report, India’s 5G speeds have reached as high as 809.94 Mbps on some test networks, while the median 5G download speed across the country was 312.26 Mbps in August 2023. This is a significant improvement from the previous quarter, when India ranked 82nd in the world with a median 5G download speed of 45.06 Mbps. The report also compared the 5G speeds of Airtel and Jio across four cities: Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, and Varanasi. The results showed that Jio had a much faster median 5G download speed than Airtel in all four cities, with the highest difference in Delhi, where Jio reached 598.58 Mbps, while Airtel reached 197.98 Mbps. The report also provided a global ranking of countries based on their median 5G download speeds, where India secured the 10th position, surpassing many developed and emerging economies. The top three countries in the ranking were the UAE (592.01 Mbps), South Korea (507.59 Mbps), and Malaysia (478.33 Mbps).
India’s 5G Benefits: More Than Just Faster Speeds
The launch of 5G services in India has not only brought faster speeds, but also higher customer satisfaction, as indicated by the Net Promoter Score (NPS), which shows that 5G users in India consistently rate their network operators more positively than 4G users. The report also highlighted that 5G has enabled new use cases and applications, such as cloud gaming, virtual reality, augmented reality, and smart city solutions, which can enhance the quality of life and productivity of the users. Moreover, 5G has also opened up new opportunities for broadband connectivity in areas where laying fiber is costly or impractical, through 5G Fixed Wireless Access (FWA) services, which can provide high-speed internet access to homes and businesses using wireless technology.