Higher mobile speeds, satellite internet will be the top Indian telecom trends in 2023: Ookla

Network intelligence company Ookla, known for its Internet speed testing service, has compiled a list of what telcos trends it expects to see in India in 2023. Along with faster mobile internet speeds and increasing 5G penetration, the company also predicts that low orbiting satellite internet could act as a disruptor this year.

Mobile speeds are expected to continue to increase

Ookla’s Speedtest Intelligence data shows that mobile data speeds have increased in India over the past 12 months. The average download speed in November 2022 was 18.26 Mbps, up from 14.39 Mbps in November 2021. Also, India rose seven places in Speedtest Global’s ranking, from 112 in November 2021 to 105 in November November 2022.

According to the Ookla consumer survey, 89 percent of respondents intended to upgrade to 5G, while only two percent said they did not intend to upgrade. Early data from Speedtest Intelligence showed that there is a wide range of 5G download speeds, ranging from 16.27 Mbps to 809.95 Mbps. According to Ookla, this indicates that operators are still recalibrating their networks. These speeds could become more stable as the networks enter the commercial phase.

Satellite internet as a disruptor

2023 could be the year that low earth orbit satellite internet reaches India. The country has low fixed broadband penetration with less than 10 percent of households having access. In places where fiber optic networks have not yet been installed, satellite internet services could fill the gap. Satellite internet services could be particularly useful in remote and rural areas where the terrain makes it difficult to build network infrastructure. India’s national broadband mission emphasizes the role of satellites in the technology mix that will expand broadband connectivity to more remote areas.

Telecom companies will try to commercialize 5G and attract customers

Telecom operators are busy rolling out 5G services after the 5G spectrum auction, and according to Ookla’s 5G coverage map, Jio has expanded the 5G network to 20 locations, while Airtel’s service is available in 15 locations.

As many as 48 percent of respondents to Ookla’s consumer survey said they plan to upgrade to 5G once it’s available in their region and would consider switching carriers if necessary. Around 20 percent of respondents said they would switch once their current carrier offers 5G, 14 percent of respondents said they have a 5G-enabled phone, and 7 percent said they plan to wait for theirs current contract ends. This could mean that service providers that roll out 5G facilities faster could potentially poach customers from their competitors.