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Reliance Jio and Bharti Airtel, two titans in the Indian telecommunications arena, have orchestrated a monumental leap forward with their swift deployment of 5G networks. The nation's rapid ascent into the top 15 countries worldwide for swift media downloads marks a transformative milestone in India's digital landscape. With Reliance Jio and Bharti Airtel at the forefront of this technological revolution, India is poised to redefine its digital infrastructure, promising unparalleled connectivity and seamless access to media content.

According to Ookla's analysis of Q4 2023 data, India ranked 14th globally in 5G median download speeds with recorded speeds of 301.86Mbps and 18.93Mbps.

“The two largest operators in India—Reliance Jio and Bharti Airtel—have been the primary drivers of the 5G rollout in the country, making significant efforts to provide 5G coverage across the nation through rapid deployment,” Affandy Johan, Industry Analyst at Ookla said in a report.

Johan mentioned that by December 2023, India had over 400,000 5G base transceiver stations (BTSs) across the country, marking a 7.7-fold increase from January 2023. This rapid expansion positions India as one of the quickest countries to adopt 5G on a global scale.

“The large-scale and rapid deployment of the 5G network in India has been paying off by elevating India’s position in the list of countries providing the fastest 5G median download speeds,” he said.

Increased 5G Availability

In India's Q4 2023, the 5G median download speed of 301.86Mbps was 18 times faster than the 4G median download speed of 16.05Mbps. Similarly, Johan revealed that the 5G median upload speed (16.05 Mbps) was five times faster than the 4G upload speed of 3.59 Mbps during the same period.

Johan also stated that 5G availability in India improved throughout 2023, starting at 28.1% in Q1 2023 and rising to 52.0% in Q4 2023, representing a 23.9 percentage point increase in a year. Ookla defines 5G availability as the percentage of 5G-active devices that spend the majority of their time connected to 5G networks.

He noted that one of the reasons for increased 5G availability is the significant growth in 5G-capable smartphones.

“Reliance Jio had the highest 5G availability among the two at 68.8% during that period, ahead of Airtel, which reported 5G availability of 30.3%,” the analyst said. He added that Reliance Jio can provide a balance of coverage and performance to its subscribers by leveraging a combination of low-band (700 MHz) and mid-band (3.5 GHz) spectrum, as well as its extensive fiber network.

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