India’s 4G speeds
India’s 4G speeds are the slowest average 4G download speeds in the world, clocking in at a 6 Mbps, which is 8 MBPS slower than the immediate neighbors, Pakistan. A report by mobile analytics company OpenSignal assessed the 4G speeds in 88 different countries. They found that Singapore (44 Mbps) and Netherlands (42 Mbps) were offering the best 4G download speeds to their mobile internet users. While India has already started gearing up for the introduction of 5G, the country is still lagging behind in providing optimum download speed on the 4G network.
The reasons for India’s slow 4G speeds
Here are the main reasons:
Financial Woes of the Telecom sector
- Telcos are facing revenue crunch, which inhibits proper investment in infrastructure:Ever since the spectrum auctions of 2015, the telecom operators have been finding it hard to come to terms with the increased costs. This was reflected in the 2016 spectrum auctions, where only 40% of the total spectrum auctioned was sold, as the base price was too high. The industry is reeling under debt and high spectrum fees further compounds the financial woes of the sector. Many of the operators have already shut shop and others are finding it difficult to stay afloat. Investing on expanding and improving the infrastructure is just not possible at the moment. The Government further made matters worse and consequently shot itself in the foot by levying a high GST of the telecom sector, which is essential to the growth and development of the country.
Market Disruption by RJio
- Market Disruption by RJIo’s introductionSince Reliance Jio’s introduction to the Indian telecom market, the other operators have been busy keeping pace with the new player rather than focusing on improving their existing services. Dirt-cheap tariffs offered by Jio forced other operators to follow suit which made their already dire economic situation worse. The revenues are constantly falling and the incumbent operators are having to run at decreased margins, which prevents them from enhancing their coverage and improving their services. A few of the telecom operators have already been forced out and others are looking to consolidate to keep up with the hyper-competitive environment. The cheap tariffs have also meant that more and more people are using the Internet of their mobile phones, thereby, increasing the load on the networks.
TRAI Regulations hampering service
- TRAI’s regulations are damaging to the telecom sectorThe Telecom Regulator of India has been issuing regulations and recommendations, constantly, lowering the revenues of the telecom operators who have accused the regulator to be biased towards RJio. If the Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI) is to be believed, the regulatory authority is working hand in glove with RJio to force out other operators and clear the way for the Mukesh Ambani owned telecom network. In any case, TRAI has failed to ensure smooth working of the networks and improvement of the existing infrastructure.
Myths related to tower radiation are leading to tower closures
- Tower myths regarding tower radiation causing health problems have resulted in numerous towers being seized and becoming nonfunctional. While the dirt cheap prices have meant that more and more people are constantly using the network, a lesser number of towers is making sure that the service is poor and the data speeds are constantly low. Local authorities are also seizing towers on the basis of local taxation and a matter is pending in the court regarding the same.
What can be done to improve India’s 4G speeds
India is the second largest telecom market in the world and yet, due to the increasing competition, exorbitant taxes and poor regulatory practices, the potential is never met. While the Government is trying to connect the rural India (what they call Hindustan) to urban India by laying optic fiber in around 600,000 villages, they are also constantly preventing the telecom industry from working efficiently by levying unbearable taxes and levies.
To achieve better speeds and make the most of the existing network, the telcos should be given financial respite so that they can invest in expanding and improving their infrastructure. It is only then that we can hold them responsible for inaction and poor service. Right now, it is easier to sympathize with them and worry for the future of the country.
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