India - Network experience across the largest 10 cities


April 2019

Airtel's leading performance in Tutela's latest State of Mobile Networks Report for India, published earlier this year, is consistent when looking at the ten most populous cities across the country. Airtel was the clear winner with the highest excellent consistent quality in six of the 10 cities tested including Mumbai and New Delhi. India’s largest city, Mumbai, had the highest average download speed at 7.6 Mbps, while India’s capital ranked sixth overall for excellent consistent quality.


Key Findings

  • Hyderabad had the highest excellent consistent quality score among the top ten most populated cities in India, with 52.7% of tests meeting or exceeding Tutela’s threshold. Meanwhile, Kolkata had the highest basic consistent quality, with 98.0% of successful connections adequate for web browsing or emails without noticeable delay
  • By operator, Airtel was the clear winner with the highest excellent consistent quality in six of the 10 cities tested including Mumbai and New Delhi. Jio was top in Kolkata and Jaipur, Vodafone in Bengaluru and Idea in Chennai

  • Between the cities, there was huge disparity in the percentage of data use over 3G and 4G compared to Wi-Fi. Jaipur had the highest percentage of traffic over 4G at 75.3%, while Hyderabad had the most data usage over Wi-Fi at 49.4%. This may offer some relief from network congestion in Hyderabad and contribute to the city’s higher excellent consistent quality score

Report Facts

  • Measurement period: 01 February 2019 to 31 March 2019
  • Download and upload speed tests: >3 million (>3,000,000)
  • Total measurements: >34 billion (> 34,000,000,000)

View Online Report

Jump to individual city results

1. Hyderabad
2. Mumbai
3. Bengaluru
4. New Delhi
5. Ahmedabad 



Measuring network performance in cities

When looking at network performance in dense urban areas, network capacity is just as important as network coverage. With many users crammed into a few square miles, the network can become overloaded at peak times, even when you’ve got a perfect signal.

As a result, relying on an average download speed to evaluate network quality isn’t a good method. As operators have worked to upgrade 3G networks to LTE-Advanced technology, theoretical (and even real-world) peak throughput speeds have increased to a level that vastly outstrips the maximum needed for any common use-case. As a result, a handful of multi-hundred-megabit download tests taken at 2AM can greatly skew the results, and the fact that cellphones become unusable on a train during rush hour doesn’t show up in the results.

At its most basic, a good connection is one that doesn’t get in the way of users doing what they want to do. In the real world, smartphone users aren’t running speed tests all day -- they’re browsing the web, sending emails, using apps, voice calling their friends, streaming Netflix and YouTube, or making video calls.

To more objectively evaluate when networks are (and are not) enabling users to do those things, Tutela has developed a standard called consistent quality. The design of the standard is explained in further detail here. Simply put, it’s two sets of thresholds, called “excellent” and “basic”. If a connection hits the “excellent” standard, it’s sufficient for the most demanding mobile use-cases, like HD video calling or 1080p video streaming.  A “basic” connection is good enough for simple web browsing, emails, and VOIP calling, but users may experience delays or buffering when trying to use more demanding apps.

Tutela’s consistent quality score simply measures the percentage of time that users hit these thresholds. The higher the number, the more often users have a basic or excellent connection.

Excellent Quality

KPI Average download speed Average upload speed Latency Jitter Packet loss
Minimum acceptable value 4 Mbps 2 Mbps 50 ms 30 ms ~0%

 

Basic Quality

KPI Average download speed Average upload speed Latency Jitter Packet loss
Minimum acceptable value 512 Kbps 128 Kbps 100 ms 50 ms 5%
 

View Online Report