OpenSignal Insights

Canada and Bolivia lead the Americas in our video experience analysis

OpenSignal recently published its first State of Mobile Video report, which analyzed how consumers experienced video over mobile networks in 69 countries around the world. Now we’re drilling down into the specifics of various regions, starting first with the Americas. We found that compared to Europe, the Americas didn’t rate as highly on our video scale. While the video experience in North and South American countries is by no means bad, there is definitely room for improvement.

Our first-of-its-kind video experience analysis calculates a score from 0 to 100 with 100 being the best video experience possible. None of the North or South American countries we examined were among the 11 elite countries with scores in the Very Good (65-75) range. In fact, only two countries in the New World, Canada and Bolivia, rated a Good score (55-65), The rest landed in the Fair (40-55) category, where the typical video experience is characterized by long loading times and frequent stalling at high resolutions, but better quality at low resolutions. (For more details on video experience see this blog post.)

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India’s good LTE availability does not guarantee a great mobile video experience

Key takeaways:

India’s mobile operators have been successful in making 4G LTE widely available across India. 4G availability experienced by smartphone users ranges from 82.6% in the Kerala region to an impressive 90.9% in Kolkata, demonstrating that most of the time smartphone users are connected to 4G networks.

But a great mobile video experience does not correlate with the high 4G availability. The linear correlation between 4G availability and mobile video experience is just 0.11 on a scale where a score near 1, or -1, would indicate a strong positive or negative correlation between the two measures.

Mobile video streaming suffers from any weak links in delivery. To score highly on mobile video experience, operators must be able to support a consistent end-to-end performance across their infrastructure. Simply having a good LTE radio signal is not enough. It’s critical there are no weak links anywhere or the consumer mobile video experience will suffer.  

Smartphone users enjoy the best mobile video experience in Mumbai, Tamil Nadu, Delhi, Kolkata and, Jammu and Kashmir, with scores over 41 on OpenSignal’s new mobile video experience measure. Additionally, it’s noticeable that both Kerala, and Jammu and Kashmir, rate much more highly for mobile video experience than they do compared with other regions for 4G availability, demonstrating that good 4G availability is not a guide to a reliable mobile video experience.

India’s four most populated cities offer smartphone users a better mobile video experience than seventeen of the twenty-two regions OpenSignal assessed. But there is little difference in the mobile video experience of Mumbai, Delhi, Bangalore, and Hyderabad’s smartphone users.

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Malaysia’s 4G market is reaching maturity

Today OpenSignal published its State of Mobile Network report for Malaysia, our fourth look at the Southeast Asian country’s diverse mobile scene. After two years of tracking the country’s six mobile operators, it’s become evident that Malaysia’s 4G market is reaching maturity.

4G availability has reached impressive levels. Five of Malaysia’s six operators are able to provide our users with an LTE connection more than 75% of the time, while three operators were able to supply a connection more than 80% of the time. The leader in this metric is still 4G-only provider Yes, but we’re tracking some big moves from Celcom. In a space of six months, its 4G availability score jumped 5 percentage points, helping it close the gap with Yes.

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Fast mobile speeds don’t always produce a better video experience

Faster doesn’t always mean better when it comes to mobile video. Today, OpenSignal published the industry’s first State of Mobile Video report, which examines the overall video experience on mobile networks in 69 countries across the world. The most startling conclusion of our global analysis is that in countries with highly developed LTE services, download speed has limited impact on the quality of video consumers see when watching clips or programming streamed from the internet. If you already have a decent network connection, then an additional boost in speed isn’t necessarily going to make your video experience better.

Image courtesy of David Stewart of homegets.com

Image courtesy of David Stewart of homegets.com

This new report represents a key step forward in OpenSignal’s approach to measuring the consumer mobile experience. In addition to quantifying the underlying characteristics of the network such as speed and latency, we’re analyzing how those dimensions impact the services and applications people use on an everyday basis. Our new video experience analysis seeks to answer a simple yet highly relevant question for modern mobile consumers: How good or bad does video render on my mobile connection?

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Strong US TV and video market leads to controversial mobile network prioritization solutions

One of the most controversial practices that mobile operators can be accused of is prioritizing certain types of network traffic over others, or limiting the quality of video which consumers can stream. Operators in the U.S. are often criticized for being heavy-handed in such network management practices compared with other countries, and these attacks often paint the operators as backward compared with the best mobile networks in other parts of the world such as Europe and Asia.

However, it can be argued that there is a much stronger TV and video industry in the U.S. than in other countries. This results in unusually high video use, which in turn places a unique demand on mobile networks. U.S. mobile operators have been forced to become innovators in the technologies and solutions needed to best cope with that demand, such as network prioritization.

Video on mobile - OpenSignal-4

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OpenSignal pioneers the measurement of mobile video experience

Today OpenSignal is taking a huge step forward in the way mobile services are measured and quantified. We’ve introduced a new analysis of mobile video experience that rates the quality of video streamed from the internet to the mobile device.

In the words of our CEO, Brendan Gill, “Taking another leap forward in our real-world measurement philosophy and approach, we are now analyzing how consumers experience the specific services they use on their mobile phones. Video experience analysis represents a major step forward towards our vision.”

OpenSignal’s mission has always been to record the true subscriber experience, and we feel our new video analytics capabilities represent a critical evolutionary stage in that mission. We’re moving beyond measuring the speed, latency and availability of mobile connections, to examine how those underlying characteristics impact one of the most important mobile applications: video. Having a fast mobile connection is a good thing, but speed doesn’t guarantee video quality — a theme we’ll be revisiting more and more in the coming months as video experience becomes a core element of our public reporting. Continue reading

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South Australia smashes it in 4G download speeds

Domestic cricket gets underway in Australia in October – and South Australia will certainly be hoping to put in a better innings this summer than they did in last season’s Sheffield Shield competition, when they ended up in last place. But the region has already beaten off its rivals to come top in OpenSignal’s analysis of 4G download speeds. We’ve analyzed the average 4G download speeds and 4G availability of the seven largest states and territories in Australia to see how they’re performing in LTE.

South Australia topped our average 4G download speed table with a hugely impressive score of 41.2 Mbps – the only one of the regions we examined to pass the 40 Mbps boundary. OpenSignal analyzed average 4G download speeds across Australia’s seven largest states and territories in the 90 days starting May 01, 2018. We found that all but one of the regions topped the 30 Mbps milestone – but even the sparsely-populated Northern Territory managed a very respectable average LTE download speed of 29.7 Mbps in our measurements.

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Which cities rank highest in 4G speed and availability in Brazil?

Brazil is a country not only of big natural landscapes but also of humongous cities. It lays claim to more than a dozen metropoles with over a 1 million residents — and a lot of those folks have 4G smartphones. We decided to take a look at how Brazil’s biggest cities compared in our LTE metrics, and the results may be a bit surprising. The mega-cities of Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo weren’t the leaders in our 4G availability and 4G speed measurements.

Let’s start first with 4G availability, which has been something of a problem area for Brazil. Compared to its big South American neighbors, Brazil has always fared poorly in 4G reach. In our last report on Brazil, only a single operator, TIM, was able to provide our users with an LTE connection more than 70% of the time. Luckily for urban Brazilians, mobile broadband signals are much more accessible in the big cities than it is in the country at large. The top 14 cities by population all had 4G availability scores greater than 73% across all operators.

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Netherlands hits the peaks in 4G availability

In terms of geography, the Netherlands is mainly known for being, well, flat. But the Netherlands is certainly at the top of Europe when it comes to 4G network experience.

In our most recent State of Mobile Networks report for the country, we found that all four Dutch national operators have now passed 90% in our 4G availability category – the first time we have seen this in our European reports. Not only this, but all four operators have passed 35 Mbps in our 4G download speed measurements, with one of them topping the 50 Mbps milestone. The Netherlands is among the best mobile markets we have measured; however, while we are seeing 4G availability continue to expand, growth in 4G download speeds appears to be slowing.

In our latest look at the Netherlands, we analyzed over 312 million measurements to examine the 3G and 4G user experience offered by the country’s four national operators, KPN, T-Mobile, Tele2 and Vodafone. And one operator continues to dominate our mobile analysis, winning or drawing in six out of our seven categories.

Netherlands rotterdam city

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With new models, Apple will raise mobile network speeds

In 2018, Apple is on the “speed” or “S” year in its normal two-year iPhone update cycle: Apple usually launches a new iPhone design one year, then the next year it keeps the exterior design the same but updates the iPhone’s components to deliver faster performance. Historically, Apple has focused on the speed of its application processor or graphics; we believe it’s now time for Apple to talk about mobile network speeds as well.

Globally, iPhone users experience 15.7 Mbps average LTE download speeds based on measurements of our users. This speed is set to rise with improvements included in the new iPhone models Apple is launching this month, such as new modems and antenna designs.  Apple also will likely build on last year’s cellular Apple Watch Series 3 with a new model. These smartphone enhancements will help mobile operators to maximize returns on their mobile network investments.

If Apple chooses the latest Intel modem, it will enable them to create the first dual SIM iPhone. Such a dual SIM model would help Apple compete in geographies where dual SIM smartphones are popular, including India and China. Continue reading

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