In an interesting turn of events, data published by Telecome Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) reveals that Reliance Jio has had the fastest 4G speeds for the month of February. The data shows that Reliance Jio 4G offers almost double (17.42mbps) of what its nearest competitors have to offer; namely Airtel (7.66mbps) and Idea Cellular (8.33mbps). This report directly contradicts the results of Ookla’s SpeedTest app, which had Airtel as the fastest 4G network. TRAI collects its data using the MySpeed application which records mobile data speeds from subscribers across the country in real-time.
Airtel has been using the SpeedTest results to advertise itself as the fastest 4G network in the country, in a bid to lure more customers into its fold. The ads were run just in the last few days of Reliance Jio’s service being free, where customers were being asked to sign up for Jio Prime and commit to the company’s paid service model. While Reliance has disputed the allegedly false claims being made by Airtel through its ads, the company also revealed that 72 million of its 100 million users had already signed up for Jio Prime and as a show of good faith, the timeline for signing up for Jio Prime is being extended till April 15 2017.
We did our own little performance test using both TRAI’s MySpeed app and the SpeedTest app by Ookla. The Jio sim is in a OnePlus 2 while the Airtel sim is in a Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge. Both the phones are on a single sim configuration. Our results show that Airtel is faster across both the apps, with Reliance Jio being considerably slower. Whichever set of data you believe, at the end of the day, the choice of what carrier to pick comes down to the performance you receive on your handset. Top speeds aren’t achieved consistently across the length and breadth of the network. For example, our Airtel number works a lot faster than our Jio sim in Noida and South-East Delhi. There are times where the Jio sim is painfully slow, despite not having used up the 1GB per day limit.
We’re not sure why our data is in dorect conflict with that of TRAI’s, but the take-away from this is the fact that your decision to choose a carrier should depend on the speed you get in your region. While TRAI may consider Reliance Jio to be faster and SpeedTest declares Airtel as the fastest 4G network, there are too many inconsistencies for either of the statements to be conclusive. We strongly recommend doing your own tests before committing to any service provider.