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SA beats advanced markets' mobile video experience

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SA was the only African country to achieve a 'good' ranking in OpenSignal's mobile video analysis.
SA was the only African country to achieve a 'good' ranking in OpenSignal's mobile video analysis.

South African mobile operators are providing a 'good' video experience, with the country beating some arguably more advanced markets, including France, Ireland and Russia.

This is according to mobile analytics company OpenSignal in its "State of Mobile Video" report which analysed the consumer mobile video experience in 69 countries around the world.

The firm says countries with the most sophisticated networks and the fastest speeds aren't necessarily those providing the highest-quality video-viewing experience.

It points out that the analysis shows video experience and connection speed are linked in countries where speeds are relatively slow, but once a country passes the 15Mbps threshold in average overall download speed, the raw power of connections has little bearing on streaming video quality.

OpenSignal's video experience metric is derived from an International Telecommunication Union-based approach for determining video quality. The metric calculation takes picture quality, video loading time and stall rate into account.

The firm measures video experience on a scale of 0-100, with scores falling into the following categories: 75-100 (excellent), 65-75 (very good), 55-65 (good), 40-55 (fair) and 0-40 (poor).

"We report video experience on a scale of 0-100, with South Africa's score falling into the 'good' category (55-65)," says Peter Boyland, an analyst at OpenSignal.

"South Korea was by far the fastest of the 69 countries we analysed in this report, but 15 other countries ranked higher in video experience. The best video experience we recorded was in the Czech Republic."

Eleven of the 69 countries analysed earned a 'very good' rating on OpenSignal's video experience scale, meaning mobile video loaded quickly and rarely stalled even at higher resolutions. But even among those elite nations, there is still room for improvement, the firm says. No country achieved the highest video experience rating of 'excellent'.

European countries tended to outperform the rest of the world in mobile video experience. Not only did a European nation top the list, but of the 11 countries that earned a 'very good' score, nine of them were in Europe, says OpenSignal.

"South Africa achieved a score of 55.87 in our video experience metric, just tipping it into the 'good' category," says Boyland.

He notes this is a fairly impressive achievement for a country that has had 4G LTE services for less than six years.

"Plotted on our graph that compares overall video experience and download speed, South Africa is on the border between the 'first half' of the chart, where speed closely correlates to video experience, and close to the 'second half' where this relationship is less defined. Again, this reflects South Africa's status as a country on the brink of becoming an advanced 4G market," says Boyland.

"South Africa was roughly in the middle of our table for video experience. But this is an impressive achievement for a relatively new 4G country, and South Africa beat some arguably more advanced markets, including France, Ireland and Russia."

He explains that this was partly due to SA's fairly impressive overall download speed score of 14.45Mbps, which was faster than Mexico, Israel and Brazil.

"South Africa was the only African country to achieve a 'good' ranking in our mobile video analysis, while the others we measured (Egypt, Morocco, Tunisia) were all in the 'fair' category. We were understandably unable to publish measurements for a lot of African countries due to limited 4G network coverage, but I can say with some confidence that South Africa would have ranked the highest on the continent in our video analysis."

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