SA narrowly misses ‘very good’ mobile video ranking

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Over the past year, mobile video experience significantly improved, with more users enjoying a ‘very good’ to ‘excellent’ viewing experience.

This is based on new data from Opensignal’s State of Mobile Video report,which analysed 100 countries across the globe on the state of mobile video experience, from 1 August to 30 October.

The mobile analytics company found mobile video experience significantly improved in 59% of 100 countries it analysed. “Users now experienced ‘very good’ mobile video experience in 22 countries, including major markets like Canada, Germany, Italy, Japan and the UK.

“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.”

Opensignal measures the average video experience of its users on 3G and 4G networks for each operator.

The 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).

The firm says in 2018 no country rated mobile video quality as ‘excellent’. That, however, has changed this year, with six countries rating mobile video experience as ‘excellent’.

“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.”

In the Middle East and Africa, Opensignal found video experience setbacks as well as improvements.

In the case of SA, the firm highlights the country stopped just 1.7 points short of the 65-point mark, preventing it from reaching the ‘very good’ ranking this year. South Africa now ranks sixth in the region, after Lebanon’s stratospheric growth surpassed SA by 0.5 points.

Last year, SA broke into the ‘good’ category, beating some arguably more advanced markets, including France, Ireland and Russia. The country achieved a score of 55.87 in Opensignal’s video experience metric.

This time around, there is no change in the video experience category SA finds itself, despite users enjoying a mobile video experience score of 63.3 – just behind Lebanon on 63.8 – followed by Tunisia with 60.8 and Morocco on 56.6.

The report states: “Four countries moved into the ‘very good’ category for the first time across the Middle East and Africa in 2019: UAE, Oman, Qatar and Kuwait. Leading African countries narrowly missed out on joining these three in the top category for the regions.”

Commenting on the continent’s video experiences, Ian Fogg, VP analysis at Opensignal, says: “Mobile users across Africa benefit from a great mobile video experience even more than do users in other regions because in Africa, mobile broadband is often the only way to watch on-demand TV, movies and short video because of the worse fixed broadband coverage.”

He adds: “In the parts of Sub-Saharan Africa where 4G networks are still relatively new and immature, the opportunities of offering mobile video will help operators looking to promote 4G’s benefits over older, less capable 3G networks.”

Opensignal’s analysis indicates that 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 US. By contrast, in 9% of countries, users suffered a ‘poor’ mobile video experience, meaning mobile video is practically unwatchable.”

In 2018, 10 countries across Africa and the Middle East rated as ‘poor’, improving only slightly, with eight countries in 2019, according to the firm.

“In both Libya and Iraq, the mobile video experience of users worsened by 1.0 and 6.9 points, highlighting the challenges of offering mobile services in countries which continue to suffer from geopolitical instability.”

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