More than half (56%) of video consumers on India’s 3G networks suffer from significant stalling and re-buffering, leading to frustrated users and high video abandonment rates, according to a study conducted by, Skyfire
Overall, 83% of users on 3G experience at least some stalling while trying to watch video.
Skyfire combined its global data on mobile video network loads with extensive bandwidth test data from wireless network authority Open Signal, using recent data from 2013 on India’s networks.
The study reveals that on India’s 3G networks, 40% of all video streams ran at bitrates of less than 300 kbps, 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 typically not play without frustratingly long start times. “Significant stalling” is defined as a video that stalls or buffers more than 10% of its overall playback time, and more than half (56%) of videos on India’s 3G networks experienced playback issues at this rate.
India’s 2G networks fared even worse for mobile video. On 2G, over 99% of users experienced at least some stalling.
This new data is noteworthy, because India is in a unique position with regard to video consumption on mobile devices. According to Cisco’s 2013 Visual Networking Index, mobile data traffic in India is projected to reach a whopping 900 petabytes per month by 2017, with 60% of that data coming from mobile video alone. Additionally, YouTube, by far India’s most popular video site, announced earlier this year that 30% of all YouTube videos consumed in India were already being watched on mobile.
“With video consumption clearly skyrocketing and causing such experience-impacting congestion in India, the country’s operators should implement cost-effective and quick-to-market solutions to enhance the end-user mobile video streaming experience,” says Sunil Kamath, Vice President for South Asia, Opera Software.