Telcos have questioned the validity of results thrown up by the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India’s (TRAI) MySpeed app, which measures mobile data speeds. They asked the regulator to review the findings and fix discrepancies so that the growing number of data consumers won’t get misled into making wrong choices while choosing their broadband service providers.
The Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI) questioned how the data download speed of a single operator recorded by Trai’s app was sharply different from those measured by other testing services.
COAI, which represents top telcos Bharti Airtel, Vodafone India, Idea Cellular and Jio, did not identify the operator.
It cited a Trai white paper in February that showed data-speed testers such as Ookla, OpenSignal and 4G Mark pegging Jio’s download speeds at 7.33, 5.81 and 4.6, respectively, while its MySpeed app recorded it at 18.4.
“Trai’s white paper highlights that different measurement methodologies were adopted and their processing approaches would have different results. But if this is the reality, the different results should be uniformly visible for all operators across different apps, but the findings of Trai’s MySpeed app are significantly different for only a single telecom service provider, which would not provide the justification in understanding the reason for such a huge variation,” COAI’s director general Rajan Mathews said in a letter dated April 10 to Trai secretary Sunil Gupta.
According to Mathews, an analysis of the data presented in Trai’s white paper revealed “discrepancies within the results of the regulator’s MySpeed App,” which question the “level of their accuracy” and may even “defeat the purpose” of such an app.
Mathews urged Trai to “identify the reasons for deviation in speed of only one TSP in the regulator’s MySpeed App data.”
“There appear to be anomalies in the results captured by Trai’s MySpeed app, and the regulator needs to rectify the discrepancies and be careful about positioning it as the definitive benchmark for certifying telco data speeds as consumers relying on such flawed data would be unable to make informed choices when selecting service providers,” Mathews told ET.
The regulator’s MySpeed app measures mobile data speeds of telcos through crowd sourcing.
Discrepancies in telco data speeds came to the fore last year after US tester Ookla certified Bharti Airtel as the fastest network in India, contrary to the regulator’s ranking of Reliance Jio as the fastest.
Mukesh Ambani-owned Jio accused Ookla of knowingly and blatantly releasing misleading speed results and filed a case against the testing company, alleging loss of reputation and money due to an ad campaign run by Airtel that had amounted to conspiracy, defamation and breach of trust, among others. The court, however, reportedly dismissed Jio’s plea.
Ookla had reportedly said it ensures information collected on any internet speed test is verifiably correct and added that accuracy and neutrality are of the utmost importance. Ookla’s results have earlier reportedly been based on over 25 million tests taken on 3.7 million unique devices.
Trai had said in its recent paper that accuracy in measuring broadband experience is critical for “consumers to make informed choices” and for regulators and policy makers “to assess the accessibility to services dependent on broadband.”