Even at a time when the world is transferring into the 5G technology, the fourth generation mobile internet technology in India is moving at snail’s pace in comparison with the rest of the world. What is the reason for such pitiful 4G service in one of the world’s most developing nations? Why India has slowest 4G Among the World?  has Let’s take a closer look.

The speed testing service Ookla estimates the average 4G download speed in India at 9.12 Mbps when the global average is almost at 24Mbps. This mediocre service puts the nation 109th among 124 nations where the 4G service is employed. Back in 2016, when Jio brought a revolution in the field, things were expected to get better. And they did. But the positives from the Jio revolution only helped in getting cheaper internet for the public.

Things look even more awful when you compare the average internet speed in India to that of its neighbors Srilanka, Pakistan, and Myanmar who all have an average 4G speed above 13 Mbps. World’s leading nations like Japan and the UK have 4G speeds over 20Mbps whereas users in countries like Singapore and the Netherlands enjoy 4G speeds well above 40 Mbps. India has slowest 4G among these nations. Let’s take a look at the problems causing the unstable 4G services in India.

4G speeds countrywise

Reasons for Slow 4G In India

 Population density

One of the reasons behind the slow speeds is pretty simple. Ever since 2016 and the Jio revolution, the number of smartphone users has increased rapidly in a quick time interval. The mobile networks simply aren’t powerful enough to serve the data requirements of such a dense population. The number of users is increasing by the month. The network congestion caused by all these new users trying to connect to the same network causes a decline in the quality of connection and network speed. When asked about low internet speeds, the CEO of a major telecom network responded similarly stating that the present networks are not designed to handle such huge network traffics in a country like India.

  • Spectrum allotment
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Another important factor to be taken into account is the spectrum allowed for LTE.  The spectrum allocated for each operator like Jio, Vodafone, Airtel etc is also low. LTE stands for Long Term Evolution which supposedly gives up to 10 times the 3G speed. With advanced LTE technologies available, some companies simply haven’t upgraded their existing technologies. In addition to the congestion levels and how densely a mobile network is employed, the lack of newer upgrades to the existing 4G technology also leads to poor network speeds. So basically,

“spectrum per operator and spectrum per subscriber is low”.

Multiple Mobile Technologies

When Jio was introduced by Reliance in 2016, they were smart enough to enter the market with the newest technologies. But the most important difference for Jio from their competitors was that it completely ignored the popular 2G and even 3G technologies. They put all their focus on 4G and gained users who only needed 4G.

At the same time, the existing networks like Vodafone, Airtel, etc had to also consider their existing users who were still using the 2G and 3G networks. Since they are unable to deliver uninterrupted 4G LTE service, the signal drops occasionally to 3G and 2G. This is another minor reason for the slow 4G speeds in India. Even with newer technologies coming, the majority of the nation still uses 2G networks and basic mobile handsets. So this is a problem that can only be solved by newer updates and advancements to the 4G LTE technology.

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The spectrum available for Companies

The average spectrum available for operation for the telecom companies in India is 26MHz. The telecom companies in developed economies around the world use a 50MHz spectrum on average which is another reason for them having high-speed, uninterrupted 4G internet.

High Latency Level

Indian internet users are used to the slower internet speeds whether it is on their mobile phones or their PCs, connected to broadband internet. The loading of webpages used to take a long time even on broadband some years back. This delay is termed as Latency. Indian telecom operators have high latency levels. Developed nations have internet service providers delivering latency levels under 50 milliseconds whereas the fastest network in India has a delay of over 65 milliseconds.

Local Restrictions

Another official statement from the telecom ‘higher-ups’, is that there are too many restrictions imposed upon telecom companies. It includes interference from local governing bodies causing tower shutdowns, forced internet shutdowns, etc. They also mentioned about the problems raised while acquiring permissions for newer technologies and infrastructure. India as a nation is well known for bribes from local governing authorities. This may be restricting the overall progress of the telecom field just like every other field.

Solutions for slow 4G in India

Well, enough with the negativity. Yes, there are many flaws in the way things run in our country. Yes, they are solvable. Let’s take a look at a few solutions that can boost the 4G speed so that we can finally move on to the upcoming 5G technology and much more

A solution to high latency levels

This is a problem that the telecom companies are expected to solve shortly by increasing the site capacities and equipping newer technologies. A possible solution that can be employed is to use a spectrum sharing technology. So if your phone demands 4G networks, with this technology the 4G airwaves are employed dynamically. This is a sort of switching between 2G and 4G networks automatically but by choice and not to fill network gaps.

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Massive MIMO- A solution to population density problems.

MIMO stands for multiple outputs of multiple inputs. Certain Indian telecom companies have employed a pre-5G technology to boost up the existing 4G speeds called Massive MIMO. It increases the network capacity of the same spectrum 5 to 7 times. This will solve the population density problems up to a certain extent.

Carrier Aggregation Technology

We mentioned about advancements in the 4G technology like the LTE- advanced. Carrier Aggregation is one such advancement by which an increase in bandwidth and bitrate is achieved leading to faster 4G speed. As the name implies, multiple carriers are combined to achieve this technique. They use various spectrum frequency bands on the same network. Other key benefits also involve a low latency level for the network cutting down the delays to almost half of what it used to be.


Most of the countries that have high-speed 4G internet are small in size and population which is an obvious advantage for the telecom companies there to provide faster internet. Even the richest nation in the world, the USA, is on the lower end of the list of countries with the fastest 4G speeds because of their bigger size in land area and population compared to the likes of Singapore and the Netherlands. So some of the reasons why we have low 4G speeds are justified.

India is expected to launch 5G networks on a large scale basis by the dawn of the next decade. So hopefully things are going to get better as far as internet speeds are concerned.

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