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MTN gets OpenSignal vote for video streaming

MTN has taken the “best video streaming experience” crown from Vodacom, writes BRYAN TURNER.

OpenSignal, the wireless coverage quality assessment company, has released a new South African mobile network report which shows MTN overtaking Vodacom in mobile video streaming experience.

In the same category, Cell C and Telkom Mobile moved closer to MTN and Vodacom, compared to OpenSignal’s other measurement categories.

MTN also took the “4G availability” award, which refers to the network with the largest amount of quality 4G/LTE covering South Africa. However, Vodacom is close behind in terms of ratings.

OpenSignal’s latest video experience analysis measures streaming of video over a mobile network against several factors. Using these factors, it describes the quality of the network on a scale from 0 to 100, where 100 is the best video experience possible. MTN won with 2.35 scale points over Vodacom, while both scored in the 55-65 range or “Good” on OpenSignal’s scale.

The company defines “Good” as streamed video rendering at both low and high resolutions on the mobile device, “but exhibiting some loading time before playback begins and some stalling, especially at HD resolutions”.

Cell C and Telkom Mobile scored 50.18 and 46.72, respectively, placing these mobile telcos in the 40-55 or “Fair” band on the scale. This band is defined as a user typically experiencing longer loading times with “frequent stalling” at higher resolutions.

Netflix ISP ratings note something different, however, with MTN being slower than Vodacom in download speed from Netflix’s video servers since June of this year. While this is only one streaming service, it provides a sense of how different companies measure video service quality.

OpenSignal made it clear the relationship between its video streaming measurement and network speed isn’t as strong as one would think.

“Surely the faster an operator’s download speed, the better the video experience, right? Not necessarily,” it says in the report. “We tracked a fairly close correlation between video experience and overall download speed measurements at the lower end of the table, but this relationship became much less obvious as scores improved.”

For this reason, Vodacom holds the title of best network based on download speed, while MTN holds the title of the best network for good video streaming experiences.

In the global video experience category, South Africa scored mid-table, while ahead of developed countries like France, Ireland and Russia. The Czech Republic holds the top spot for video streaming while South Korea holds the top spot for download speed.

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