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A new report by London-based OpenSignal, India will gradually move away from being a developing 4G country, overcoming the hiccups necessary to become a full-grown 4G power in 2018.
"The trend will continue next year. Whether Jio remains the huge dominant driver in 4G growth remains to be seen. After a year of free and steeply discounted data pricing, Jio may make 2018 the year it raises prices and that could level the playing field for India's operators," Andrea Toth from OpenSignal.
Jio's market entry kicked off an intense price war in the telecom scene resulting in offerings of cheaper LTE services from all operators, driving more consumers to 4G than ever before, Toth said.
In addition, the expected consolidation of the telecom market will likely lead to several operators combining their spectrum holdings, which could provide India the necessary boost in speed. These more powerful combined networks would provide more capacity as well as support more sophisticated LTE-Advanced technology, increasing average speeds available to consumers.
2017 was the year 4G exploded in India. One of the fastest growing mobile markets in the world, India's current mobile data subscriber penetration stands at 40 percent and it is expected to double to 80 percent by 2022 Crisil's predicts.
Meanwhile, LTE availability saw a meteoric rise, the same cannot be said of 4G speeds.
"In our latest State of LTE report, India occupied the lowest spot among the 77 countries we examined, with average download speeds of 6.1 Mbps, over 10 Mbps lower than the global average," the report said.
As 4G adoption rose, and more and more consumers subscribed to 4G services, the networks experienced congestion, resulting in a decrease in average download speeds across the board.
With operators rolling out low-cost data plans to grow their consumer bases, and manufacturers launching affordable 4G smartphones enabling a greater slice of the population to get connected, OpenSignal expects 4G availability to maintain its rising trajectory across the country.