Smaller operators Idea Cellular and Telenor handily beat bigger rivals Reliance Jio and Bharti Airtel in a 4G network quality field test conducted by the telecom regulator in the Gujarati city of Surat.
In fact, the survey agency was not able to get a Youtube video playing over Jio’s network in all five locations where the tests were conducted.
The checks were conducted on Dec 23 as part of TRAI’s ‘drive test’ for Western India.
For evaluating the 4G networks, TRAI used an agency to test all four LTE operators in the city — Reliance Jio, Idea Cellular, Bharti Airtel and Telenor — from five different locations. These locations were Railway Station, Textile Market, Civil Hospital, Athwa Lines and VR Mall.
Four types of tests were conducted to determine the quality of the 4G network — upload and download speeds, video streaming, network delay (latency) and browsing speed.
In download speed test, the highest scores were recorded by Telenor with an average speed of 6.6 Mbps, followed by Idea Cellular at 6.5 Mbps. Jio was third at 4.5 Mbps, while Airtel was last at 3.3 Mbps (see bottom).
In upload speed test, Idea Cellular came out on top with 8.2 Mbps of speed, followed by Telenor at 7.2 Mbps. Jio was again at No.3 and scored 2.1 Mbps, followed by Airtel at 0.9 Mbps.
The second test was for checking the speed of streaming a video. TRAI used Youtube, the most popular video streaming service, for the test.
As part of the tests, a two-minute video clip was streamed for viewing from five different locations.
The fastest performance in this case was again demonstrated by Idea Cellular, which took just 0.8 seconds to start the stream, followed again by Telenor, which took 1.4 seconds to start the stream.
Airtel took 2.6 seconds to start streaming the Youtube video.
Surprisingly, in all five cases, the video did not start streaming at all when tested over Reliance Jio (see chart below).
The third 4G test was on browsing speed.
The agency used the websites of Flipkart, Amazon and PayTM to determine the speed at which the contents were downloaded and displayed.
Again, the winner in 4G category was Idea Cellular, which took an average of 5 seconds to download a webpage.
Idea was followed by Telenor with 6.3 seconds and Jio with 7.2 seconds. Bharti Airtel was at the bottom with 9.4 seconds (see graph above).
The final 4G test was for checking transmission delays or latency. A low level of latency indicates that the network is optimized for traffic and not congested.
In the test, the highest score belonged to telenor, which showed a latency of 82 milliseconds between the user and Google’s servers.
Following close on its heels was Idea with only 83 milliseconds of delay. Jio came in third with a latency of 93 milliseconds and Airtel came last with a latency of 173 milliseconds.