iPhone users cite video buffering as biggest annoyance

A survey of 2,000 Apple iPhone users in the UK and the U.S. has revealed that they find poor mobile video streaming more annoying than a dropped call and are rapidly losing patience with video buffering.

According to the research carried out by Censuswide on behalf of Openwave Mobility ahead of the new iPhone launch on Sept. 9, over half (59 per cent) of subscribers in both countries will abandon streaming a mobile video if they have to wait longer than 15 seconds. Nearly a fifth (19 per cent) will abandon a video after only a five-second wait.

In both countries almost one-third of subscribers (31 per cent) expressed a strong view that video buffering is simply unacceptable, and believe that video delivery by mobile operators is lagging behind latest handset technology. Interestingly, one in two customers blame the carrier for poor mobile video service and one in three blame Apple. Notably, almost nobody blames the content providers or the over-the-top (OTT) players, the research found.

The findings are also interesting in view of the latest edition of the annual Ericsson ConsumerLab TV & Media Report, which found that there has been a 71 per cent increase in watching video on smartphones since 2012.

John Giere, president and CEO of Openwave Mobility, noted that because 39 per cent of those surveyed in both markets said they would pay more for a better mobile video-streaming service, operators are leaving money on the table. It should be pointed out here that Openwave Mobility has a vested interest in this area as it provides optimisation services for web and video traffic.

"Put simply, the operators working in conjunction with the industry need to improve the mobile video experience, or they will watch customers churn to competitors," said Giere.

Joe Hoffman, VP of strategic technology at ABI Research, advised mobile operators to take the research findings seriously.

"Our research shows that 70 per cent of operators worldwide do not have a coherent web and video optimisation strategy. If just one-third of operators implemented solutions…then the combined effect over the next five years from churn and capex reduction with ARPU elevation would move the needle $30 billion (€26.9 billion) into the black," Hoffmann said.

For more:
- see this post from Openwave Mobility
- see the Ericsson report

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