Over one third of video played on Russia’s 3G networks still suffers from stalling

Opera’s cloud-based mobile-video-optimization unit, Skyfire, has found that 37% of all videos that play on Russia’s 3G networks suffer from stalling and rebuffering, resulting in frustrated users and high video abandonment rates. The survey also finds that 28% of videos played on 3G networks in the country encounter significant stalling, defined as stalling or buffering for more than 10% of a video’s overall playback time.

Skyfire survey data

It is no surprise that Russia’s 2G networks are even less mobile-video-friendly, according to Skyfire’s findings. Over 96% of all videos played on 2G suffered from significant stalling, and over 99% – virtually all – measured videos experienced at least some stalling.

To conduct the study, Skyfire combined its global data on mobile video network loads with extensive bandwidth test data from wireless network authority OpenSignal, using recent data from 2013 on Russia’s networks.

The survey data also shows that on Russian 3G networks, over 16% of all video streams ran at bitrates of 300 kilobits per second (kbps) or less, a very low speed for video playback on mobile devices. On mobile devices, HD video requires five to ten times higher bandwidth, and the immensely popular auto-play videos within the Vine and Instagram apps use a much higher bitrate (900-1300 kbps); therefore they will not typically play without frustratingly long start times.

The research from Skyfire and OpenSignal is in line with recent data from an On Device Research study conducted for Opera Software in Russia in December 2013. According to these survey findings, when asked “Do you ever experience low quality, lagging or ‘buffering’ when you watch mobile videos?”, 13% of users in Russia said “all the time” and 37% said “often”. This video-viewing experience resulted into 50% of users reporting a frequently unsatisfactory experience with mobile video.

The cumulative data clearly shows that Russia’s mobile networks have to be improved in order to meet the ever-increasing demand for mobile video from users. From 2012 to 2017, mobile video traffic in Russia will grow 22-fold, a compound annual growth rate of 85%, according to Cisco’s Visual Networking Index. In all, 58% of Russia’s mobile data traffic will be generated by video by 2017, compared to 43% at the end of 2012.

“Mobile video consumption in Russia is set to skyrocket during the upcoming Winter Olympic Games in Sochi, giving mobile operator networks a serious test. With 2018’s FIFA World Cup also taking place in Russia, the country’s mobile networks will continue to experience surges in mobile video,” says Nitin Bhandari, SVP of Products, Operator Solutions, Opera Software. “Russian operators have the opportunity to couple their regional LTE rollouts with mobile video optimization to expand capacity across 2G, 3G and 4G networks nationwide. Thanks to the surgical, cloud-based and NFV- ready (Network Functions Virtualization) solutions now available, such as Opera’s Rocket Optimizer, Russian operators can address the serious concerns of its customers quickly and flexibly.”

Opera’s Rocket Optimizer mobile-video-optimization solution, powered by Skyfire, has a unique focus on real-time, cloud-based QoE (Quality of Experience) detection and mitigation for each video stream. It is designed to ensure that networks are flexible and elastic enough to withstand the video streaming demands coming in 2014 and beyond. For more information on Opera, Skyfire and Rocket Optimizer, please visit http://www.operasoftware.com/products/rocket-optimizer/.

About OpenSignal

OpenSignal is the global authority on the real world performance and coverage of mobile operators.Whilst other methods attempt to approximate or model network performance, OpenSignal directly measures it. OpenSignal’s data is sourced from over 5 million users of its mobile app, providing a direct window into the true experience on mobile networks.OpenSignal is backed by Qualcomm Ventures, O’Reilly AlphaTech Ventures and Passion Capital. For more information on OpenSignal please visit http://opensignal.com/insights/