OpenSignal Insights

Three-way draw in India for OpenSignal’s Video Experience award

The Indian telecoms world is completely unique. Never before have we seen a market of such magnitude, regional and cultural diversity, and growth potential. OpenSignal has chosen to publish our latest report in a bespoke format to allow us to dive into the level of analysis we think this unique market deserves. We’ve introduced a new series of top-level metrics for the first time in this report, giving awards for 4G Availability, Download Speed Experience, Upload Speed Experience, Latency Experience and Video Experience. We have also included regional awards for India’s five national operators Airtel, BSNL, Idea, Jio and Vodafone across all 22 telecoms circles.

We saw a three-way tie in our new, first-of-its-kind Video Experience metric, as Airtel, Jio and Vodafone all came within a point of each other. Our Video Experience metric analyzes the video quality consumers see over mobile networks, ranking operators on a scale of 0-100, taking into account video load time, stalling rates during video playback and picture quality.

To succeed with a high score in Video Experience, operators must ensure there are no weak links anywhere in their infrastructure which could affect mobile video delivery to smartphone users. As India’s mobile networks get faster and faster, consumer habits are changing — and the thirst for video content is now shaping operator strategy.

India spices

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A big gap exists between the best and worst countries for video experience in East Asia

Of all of the global regions we analyzed in our State of Mobile Video report, East Asia definitely had the most diverse results. The western edge of the Pacific is home to countries that scored among the highest in our video experience rankings. It’s also home to some countries that ranked among the lowest.

Our first-of-its-kind video experience analysis calculates a score from 0 to 100, with 100 being the best video experience possible. In the 14 East Asian countries we examined in our report, we saw a broad range of scores with Singapore rating the highest at 66.9 and the Philippines rating the lowest at 35. (For more details on how video experience is calculated, see this blog post.) That 35-point spread represents a broad range of video qualities though. Singapore’s result lands it a Very Good rating, which generally indicates fast loading times and minimal stalling on video streams, even at higher resolutions. Singapore was one of only 11 countries globally to earn a Very Good mark, but Australia and Taiwan were right on the cusp with scores only a few tenths of a point shy of the Very Good cut-off of 65. 


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Canada’s Bell and Telus have the edge over Rogers in video experience

In our State of Mobile Video Report, the Americas didn’t compare that favorably with Europe in mobile video quality, but one country did stand out in the New World. Canada was one of two countries we examined in the Americas that commanded a Good score in our video experience rankings, beating out not only the big nations of Latin America but also its huge neighbor to the south, the U.S. Within Canada we found that all three operators maintained a high level of video experience, though two operators shared the lead: Telus and Bell.

First, let’s define what exactly a Good overall video experience score is. In our 0-100 scale, a Good score falls within the 55-65 range and it generally means that video streamed from the internet to a phone or tablet renders at low and high resolutions but exhibits longer loading times before playback begins and some stalling, especially at HD resolutions. A Good rating is just below Very Good, which is the highest rating achieved by any of the 69 countries we analyzed in our video report. (For more information on video experience see this blog post.)

Canada Video Experience

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Hurricane Florence’s impact on mobile networks lasted for days

During and in the aftermath of a natural disaster, reliable communication plays a vital role to ensure efficient first response and provide critical information to people in the impacted areas.

OpenSignal measured the experience of smartphone users before and in the aftermath of hurricane Florence, which hit North Carolina on Friday, September 14. Florence, which was downgraded to Category 1 just before marching ashore near Wilmington, battered the area for days producing widespread flooding, damaging hundreds of buildings and affecting thousands of residents.

We focused our analysis on the cities of Wilmington, Jacksonville, Myrtle Beach and Fayetteville, both before and during the storm. We are able to see the degree to which the hurricane affected the mobile experience on a daily basis, for example: whether connectivity suffered and the extent to which residents chose to shelter from the storm. Continue reading

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Europe shone in our mobile video experience analysis – but the winner wasn’t who you’d expect

Last month, OpenSignal published its inaugural State of Mobile Video report, which analyzed how consumers experienced video over mobile networks in 69 countries around the world. And the headline news is: a European country came top of our analysis. But it wasn’t one you would expect. As part of a series of blog posts looking at specific regions we cover, we’re now taking an in-depth look at the mobile video experience in Europe, and how the countries fared against each other.

Our first-of-its-kind video experience analysis ranked countries on a scale of 0-100, taking into account video load time, stalling rates during video playback and picture quality. In our global analysis, nine European countries achieved scores in the Very Good (65-75) range (out of a global total of just 11), including our overall leader, the Czech Republic. Also representing Europe in the Very Good category were Hungary, Norway, Belgium, Netherlands, Denmark, Austria, Switzerland and Slovakia, while most of the other European countries were in the Good category. In general, European countries tended to rank higher than their counterparts in the Americas, while Asian and Middle Eastern countries were scattered throughout the rankings (for more details on video experience see this blog post).

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Hong Kong mobile users’ time on Wifi peaked during Typhoon Mangkhut

Reliable communication is key during natural disasters

On Sunday 16 September, Hong Kong was battered by Typhoon Mangkhut, the strongest tropical storm to hit the city in recent decades, with strong winds up to 103 mph (166 kph) that smashed windows and teared off parts of buildings and roofs, leaving more than 100 people injured but thankfully no fatalities.

OpenSignal measured the experience of Hong Kong smartphone users both before and during the storm. We were able to see the degree to which the typhoon affected the mobile experience on an hourly basis, for example: whether connectivity suffered, and the extent to which Hong Kong residents chose to shelter from the storm.

The city had been preparing for the worst, with the local authorities issuing the highest typhoon warning — a signal 10, warning residents to take refuge at home, and deciding to temporarily shut down air travel and the city’s bus and railway services.

When a natural disaster occurs, reliable communication plays a vital role in ensuring efficient first response and providing critical information to people in the impacted areas. Continue reading

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Verizon leads in video experience in the US

Last month, OpenSignal unveiled its first analysis of mobile video experience, which measures the quality of video consumers see when streaming over their mobile connections. We’ve already taken a broad look at video experience in countries around the world in our State of Mobile Video report. In the U.S., we see Verizon leading the video pack.

USA video chart

Despite the gap between the two pairs of operators, all four of them landed within the Fair category of our ratings. Fair means that mobile connections weren’t able to support high-resolution video without prolonged stalling and long wait times, but were able to handle low-resolution video with few problems. None of the U.S. operators were even close to achieving a perfect score, but Verizon users enjoyed the highest overall video experience score of 50.6, followed by T-Mobile at 48.2. Sprint and AT&T were some way behind with scores just above 40. For more information about OpenSignal’s video experience measure, please read this blog post.

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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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