Consumers spend an enormous amount of time streaming videos on their devices making mobile video the single largest traffic source on mobile data connections globally. But the quality of video streaming is a very different story, asserts Opensignal after a thorough study. Opensignal’s latest analysis takes a deep dive into the mobile Video Experience of 100 countries across the globe. Opensignal is an independent global standard for analyzing consumer mobile experience.
While consumers in Denmark, the Czech Republic or Hungary enjoy an Excellent viewing experience, the reality for users in 28% of the countries – including Indonesia, the Philippines, and even the United States – is a Video Experience of questionable quality?
In one-year mobile Video Experience has significantly improved in 59% of 100 countries analyzed: Users now experienced very good mobile Video Experience in 22 countries, including major markets like Canada, Germany, Italy, Japan, and the U.K. Similarly, 21 countries moved into the Good category this year, including Brazil, Chile, Mexico, Russia, and Vietnam. France was the only country to jump two categories, rising from Fair to Very Good in just one year. In total, 59 countries changed the Video Experience category.
Top-ranked countries for mobile Download Speed were far from the top in Video Experience: South Korean users’ experience ranked first for download speed yet 21st for video, while Canadians’ were third fastest for download speed in Opensignal’s State of Mobile report, but just 22nd for video. This contrast between results in part reflects the way wireless operators routinely manage mobile video traffic differently to file downloads in order to prevent the vast quantities of video data from hurting the experience of other mobile apps and services.
Real-world growth in mobile video consumption requires true real-world video analytics: Opensignal says its mobile Video Experience measure is derived from an ITU-based approach for determining perceived video quality. Among other inputs, our methodology takes picture quality, video loading time and stall rate into account to create a score on a scale of 0-100, reflecting users’ perceived mobile video quality. Uniquely, Opensignal tests mobile video streaming at scale and does not estimate video experience based on speed tests or other indirect measurements.
The U.S. is lagging behind on mobile video as carriers face a spectrum crunch: While there was an improvement in Americans’ Video Experience — with the score increasing from 46.7 to 53.8 points — it was not enough to shift U.S. consumers up a gear into the Good category. Instead, Video Experience remained stuck in the Fair category. Americans had the lowest Video Experience score of any of the G7 economically leading countries as U.S. carriers struggle with the combination of enormous mobile video consumption and insufficient new spectrum. Opensignal’s results highlight the need for the release of a more mid-band spectrum to help U.S. carriers meet the mobile video needs of Americans.
For the first time, we see six countries rate as Excellent for mobile video quality: In Opensignal’s analysis of 100 countries, only mobile users in Norway, the Czech Republic, Austria, Denmark, Hungary, and the Netherlands enjoyed the top category of mobile Video Experience, although overall, users in 37% of countries enjoyed either a Very Good or Excellent experience. Notably, in 2018 no country rated as Excellent.
28% of countries ranked just Fair for mobile Video Experience: Those countries in the Fair category include large markets like Indonesia, the Philippines, Russia, and even the U.S. By contrast, in 9% of countries users suffered a Poor mobile Video Experience, meaning the mobile video is practically unwatchable.