The Airtel-Jio tussle and India’s unique challenge #DualSIM

Jio: There is no guarantee that the speed which is attributed to Airtel is of the Airtel data network!
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Both Airtel and Reliance Jio are having a fight of statements.
Airtel claims that it is the fastest network. Jio contests that. Quite badly. And aggressively.
Airtel’s claim is based on Ookla (the company behind Speedtest) – and there is a twist in the claim, as pointed by Jio – which mandates that Jio is your SIM#1 on your dual sim phone for the network to work properly.

Airtel Says:

Airtel has been rated as India’s fastest mobile network by Ookla – the global leader in broadband testing and web-based network diagnostic applications. This is clearly mentioned in the ad.  Ookla’s findings are based on analysis of millions of internet speed tests logged on ‘modern devices’ by mobile customers across India using its popular Speedtest app. The results include all mobile tests, regardless of connection.

Jio’s turn:

“The core issue is that the speedtest results are attributed to the primary sim even though the sim for which the data speedtest is conducted is the secondary sim in the case of dual-sim phones. In India, more than 90% of 4G phones are dual-sim. Therefore, there is no guarantee that the speed which is attributed to Airtel is of the Airtel data network. We are surprised that Ookla in its press release has not talked about this issue even though they had acknowledged the blunder to us earlier. Ookla has baldly stated that they stand by their results and has skirted the main issue. We will initiate actions as we deem fit at appropriate forums. The public should not be misled by these false claims based on the Ookla results.”

What Ookla has to say?

Much of the commentary has focused on dual SIM devices. The carrier displayed in the Speedtest Android application is based on the “Active Carrier” value returned by the device.
Due to limitations of the Android platform, the “Active Carrier” does not always indicate the actual data provider in devices with multiple SIMs. In these situations, Ookla applies additional data sources and mechanisms during post-processing to help determine the actual data carrier being tested. For example, Ookla matches the connection IP address recorded during the test to known carrier IP blocks.
This enables Ookla to determine the actual data carrier with a high degree of confidence. Airtel’s margin of victory increased when the complete analysis was performed.”

Jio’s turn again

“With reference to the issue of the fundamental flaw in Ookla’s Speedtest methodology which Jio has pointed out repeatedly, we note that Ookla has now admitted to ‘limitations’ in its application, and that it “does not always indicate the actual data provider in devices with multiple SIMs.” This admission by Ookla reinforces Jio’s submission that there is a clear contamination in primary data collected by Ookla in India, where nearly 90 percent of smartphones are dual SIM devices.  Any results that are based on incorrect and contaminated primary data cannot be definitive, only probabilistic. It is a travesty that such results are being passed off as “official” results by a market-leading operator. We will continue to expose such misleading practices and raise it at suitable forums.” 
Other networks who are dancing over merger parties say:

2 comments
  1. Why do they not get it? It’s NOT *JUST* ABOUT THE DAMN SPEED.
    Customer care / content partnerships etc matter . The question here is : WHO HAS A BETTER CUSTOMER SUPPORT? Who is offering Better “VALUE FOR MONEY”?
    (and I do mean all caps)

  2. Airtel needs to build a case they can defend instead of continuing to blow away crores on their ad campaign. Ookla can easily confirm the provider on the server side for Airtel assigned IP address to subs, independent of SIM use. They can filter their current data for Airtel subs and other provider subs, to confirm their speed test results are indeed better than others.
    Jio on the other hand deserves credit for exposing the Android dual-sim handling flaw that has existed since Android 1.1 but Google refuses to fix this, relying instead on hundreds of Android phone vendors to fix and handle at their end.
    Having said this, this is a classic case of the hindi proverb “Andhon me kaana raja” (the one-eyed in a crowd of blind). Both networks need a lot of work on-ground to improve consistency of speeds across their network. Jio may have a slight edge here considering their greenfield network and advanced 4G technology as compared to others. The the one-eyed one…

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