Billionaire Mukesh Ambani's Reliance Jio has installed close to 1 lakh telecom towers, nearly 5 times of its nearest competition, to roll out India's fastest and deepest penetration 5G telecom network to provide ultra-high speed internet, according to the latest DoT data.
The latest daily status report from the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) National EMF Portal shows Jio has installed 99,897 BTS (base transceiver station) across 2 frequencies it owns (700 MHz and 3,500 MHz). In comparison, Bharti Airtel has 22,219 BTS.
Additionally, for every base station, Jio has 3 cell sites while Airtel has 2, the March 23 report said. More towers and cell sites mean faster speed. According to the February 28 report of Ookla, the global leader in network intelligence and connectivity insights, Jio's top median speed is 506 Mbps (megabytes per second) as compared to 268 Mbps of Airtel.
"5G has been in place in India for over four months and already it's having a tremendous impact on the state of mobile in the country," Ookla said in the report.
"Speedtest Intelligence data shows that median download speeds across India increased by 115 percent since before the 5G launch, from a 13.87 Mbps median download speed in September 2022 to 29.85 Mbps in January 2023." 5G performance has increased across early 5G adopters in most of the telecom circles, Kolkata achieved the fastest median 5G download speeds in January 2023 at above 500 Mbps.
"Jio experienced a top median 5G download speed of 506.25 Mbps in Kolkata, while Airtel of 268.89 Mbps in Delhi," it said. Airtel and Jio have ambitious targets in terms of the 5G network rollout. "From 5G networks' inception, 5G availability across 5G-capable devices has steadily increased, reaching 8.0 percent for Airtel and 5.1 percent for Jio," it said.
India has over half a billion internet users, making it the second-largest online market worldwide, just behind China. 5G telecom services were launched in October 2022.
"Jio's USD 25 billion investment seems to be paying off. In January 2023 Jio achieved median 5G download speeds above 400 Mbps across ten telecom circles. Jio's True 5G network is based on a 5G Standalone (5G SA), which doesn't rely on a 4G LTE network. "While Jio's initial 5G speeds fluctuated massively - from low single-digit to speeds well above 800 Mbps, which pointed to the operator recalibrating its networks, Jio's 5G performance has stabilized over the past four months. In January 2023, Jio's 5G early adopters experienced speeds ranging from 246.49 Mbps median download speed in Himachal Pradesh to 506.25 Mbps in Kolkata," Ookla said.
In comparison, "Airtel's 5G early adopters experienced speeds ranging from a 78.13 Mbps median download speed in Kolkata to 268.89 Mbps in Delhi," it added.
Last month, Akash Ambani, chairman of Reliance Jio, at a post-budget webinar of the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology stated that India's largest telecom company will undertake the fastest 5G rollout in the world.
Reliance Jio is a step-down subsidiary of Reliance Industries which is helmed by his father, Mukesh Ambani. Bharti Airtel had on Friday stated that its ultra-fast 5G service is available to customers in 500 cities in the country. "Airtel added 235 cities to its network, making it one of the largest rollouts to date."
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