5G Speeds Decline in India After Rapid Growth in Users: Report

  • Jio’s 5G speeds have reduced across all of its circles in India.
  • Airtel has shown improvements but is still behind Jio in overall 5G coverage and speeds.

India has achieved the feat of the fastest 5G rollout in the world, thanks to Jio and Airtel. With exponential growth in the 5G user base, the quality of 5G networks has witnessed a slight decline. The latest report from Opensignal reveals that average 5G download speed decreased in India compared to last year. Let’s look at some insights from the report.

Decreased 5G Speeds in India

Opensignal’s report mentions that average download speeds on 5G have reduced from 304Mbps to 280Mbps in 2023. The decline is said to be caused by the rapid growth in users, due to which 5G data consumption increased four times during the same period. Speeds further decrease during the 9 pm-12 am time, which is the peak time of the day for data usage.

5g download speeds india

Currently, Airtel has 20% 5G coverage in India, while Jio is leading the game by offering 5G services in 65% of its total coverage area. Jio has scaled its 5G coverage rapidly by utilizing the 700MHz low-band spectrum. While this network band improves coverage area and has better signal penetration, it is comparatively slower than high-frequency bands.

Hence, Jio’s average download speeds in India have seen a decline across all circles. The telco could deliver up to 300Mbps speeds earlier, which has now reduced to 250Mbps in most circles.

Airtel has shown an improvement in its 5G speeds. The company has scaled up its speeds from 230Mbps to over 250Mbps across India. Despite showing this increase, the peak download speeds in Airtel are still comparatively lower than Jio.

Average 5G Download Speeds
Q1 2023 Q4 2023
Jio 307 Mbps 250 Mbps
Airtel 232 Mbps 251 Mbps

The applications of 5G go beyond smartphones for Jio and Airtel. Both telecom operators have started offering FWA services across India, which enables a broadband-like internet experience for users. As per Opensignal, the performance of 5G networks in mobile connectivity and FWA broadband is similar.

Since 5G is currently offered as a free add-on for all users, data consumption has grown at an exponential rate. However, telecom operators are soon expected to start charging extra for 5G, which was also hinted at by Airtel’s Chairman Sunil Mittal. Once that happens, the quality of 5G services is expected to get refined as there will be a good balance between the number of 4G and 5G users.

Airtel and Jio are the only two telcos in India with a PAN-India 5G coverage. Vi is currently testing its 5G services in a few circles but the availability is limited. A 5G spectrum auction is expected to happen soon in India.