Data Consumption Increase Did Not Lead To Reduced Download Speeds During Second COVID Wave: Report


Smartphone users in India witnessed little change in average download speed experience despite their average data consumption hovering between 19.9 per cent to 22.7 per cent in the last three weeks of April 2021, indicating telcos–Reliance Jio, Bharti Airtel and Vodafone Idea had prepared their networks to cope with the increased data demand during latest COVID wave, said a report by mobile analytics firm Opensignal.

“During the first lockdown in March 2020, we saw our Indian smartphone users’ average mobile data consumption increase drastically, along with significant drops in our users’ average Download Speed Experience. However, unlike the first lockdown, our users did not observe a substantial change in their overall download experience during the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic starting March 2021 onwards,” it said.

Last year when the Central government introduced strict lockdown measures in March, Opensignal observed a sharp increase in the average mobile data consumed by smartphone users on a weekly basis — 26.8 per cent to 30.1 per cent higher than at the beginning of 2020.

 “The increased mobile data consumption lasted for six weeks between the last weeks of March 2020 and May 2020, before it gradually decreased towards pre-lockdown levels. Concurrently, our users saw significant declines in their average download speeds — up to 24.8 per cent, compared to the first week of 2020,” it said.

The average mobile data consumption and the overall download speeds experienced by users had returned back to pre-lockdown levels between June 29 and July 13, 2020, and remained at similar levels until the second week of February 2021, after which the average data consumption started to grow substantially.

However, users did not experience a substantial change in their overall download experience during the second wave of the Covid-19 pandemic, starting March 2021 onwards.

“This highlights that the Indian mobile experience has been remarkably resilient during the second wave despite increased demand for mobile data,” it said

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