Indian Mobile Networks Are Struggling To Serve Burgeoning Mobile Video Traffic, Says Opera Study

Finally, we seem to have an official study which points to the inefficiencies of the 3G infrastructure being deployed in the country. SkyFire, a mobile video optimization company which is owned by Opera Software, has announced the result of its study. During their testing period, it seems that more than 56% of Indian mobile users were suffering from poor speeds, re-buffering and stalling when it comes to mobile videos. This, understandably leads to frustration and videos not being watched. I have been in such a situation so many times that I don’t actually surf videos on my data connection from Vodafone. I am sure that you must have felt the same way too.

Another stat from the study is that around 83% of the 3G users experience stalling and general slowness on loading videos on their mobile devices. Here is an image from the study which shows the details,


Opera says that the study was conducted by comparing its global data on video network loads and bandwidth test data from OpenSignal with similar data from India for the year 2013.

Here are some points to note:

1. On Indian 3G networks, 40% of all video streams run at bitrates lesser than 300Kbps, which itself is a low speed for high quality video playback.

2. Modern video services like Youtube, Instagram, Vine etc. require bitrates ranging from 900-1300 kbps. This means that Indian users cannot satisfactorily use and enjoy these services. This also leads to poor adoption of these services in the country and many Indians miss out on the exciting new content and opportunities that come with these services.

3. Significant stalling is when a video buffers for more than 10% of its runtime. Almost 56% of Indian 3G users face this while loading mobile video content.

4. 2G networks are in very poor shape. The study says that 99% of the users faced stalled loading.

The study also notes conclusions from various other studies which position India as a huge potential market for mobile video consumption. While the infrastructure may be lagging behind, Indian users are nonetheless actively consuming video content on their phones delivered over the mobile Internet. Data from Cisco’s Visual Networking Index says that Indian data traffic is projected to reach 900 petabytes per month by 2017. A 60% chunk of this accounted by mobile video alone. Youtube has also announced that out of all the videos consumed on its platform in the country, 30% of them were consumed on the mobile phone. These points clearly show that usage is increasing rapidly even though the network infrastructure is so poor. This is also similar to our internet penetration rates which are around 10% and yet generate so much data traffic when it comes to usage. If the full potential of the internet has be realized in this country, the players controlling the infrastructure and Government should up their game in a serious manner. Because inaction like this will inevitably delay the growth of the internet economy in the country. Also, there is the possibility of disruptive services overtaking the current players due to their laggard pace on the road to infrastructure development.

What are your thoughts on this? Do share them with us.

Source | Opera Software

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