Quality of mobile video experience in Nepal still way down

December 04, 2019

Krishana Prasain, The Kathmandu Post, December 04, 2019 

Nepal ranks 86th among 100 countries for mobile video quality in the Opensignal report.

The quality of mobile video experience in Nepal is still somewhere at the bottom, according to the latest report by Opensignal which gave a rank of 86 among 100 countries.

Mobile service providers have been expanding 4G services across Nepal, but the quality of video received on cell phones has not improved much in the past year, said Opensignal, an independent global standard for analysing consumer mobile experience.

According to the report, Nepal's quality of mobile video experience received a score of 43.3 percent this year, remaining unchanged compared to last year. Experts said lack of infrastructure was the major reason for the country's not being able to provide better quality mobile video.

The Nepal Telecommunications Authority said in its latest management information system report (July 17-August 17) that 52 percent of Nepalis had access to mobile broadband.

The number of 3G and 4G users has also increased within a year. There were 11 million 3G users in Nepal, up from 9 million. The number of 4G users has also increased to 4 million from 1 million.

This implies that the number of video engagements has also been swelling with many people using TikTok, YouTube and Facebook video streaming sites.

Ananda Raj Khanal, senior director of the Nepal Telecommunications Authority, said that bandwidth and network coverage problems were the major reasons why network operators were not able to provide good quality video as expected.

Lack of bandwidth impacts video quality, and to increase bandwidth, infrastructure needs to be built, he said. Equipment, network planning and technology are necessary to provide quality service to users.

Krishna Prasad Bhandari, deputy manager and spokesperson for state-owned Nepal Telecom, said that the company had used advanced Long-Term Evolution (LTE) system in its recent 4G expansion programme in order to provide quality video experience.

“We have been adopting updated technology which will provide better services,” he said. It will help to provide improved quality video experience.

India made a significant growth in the quality of mobile video experience, jumping from 13.3 percent to 51.2 percent this year, the Opensignal report said. It predicted that if the country continued this rate of change, users across India would move into the good category in 2020.

Bikram Shrestha, past president of the Nepal Internet Society, said that the quality of 3G and 4G in the country was just at the acceptable level. A fast increasing number of users and limited infrastructure is the reason for Nepal's not being able to improve quality video service.

Private operator Ncell said it would need more spectrum to deliver higher quality video at a lower cost. “As market leader, we have less than a fraction of the spectrum that is required by any market leader in the world to achieve this,” the company said. “We have not made significant progress in providing high quality video experience, and more importantly, at a lower price due to spectrum limitations.”

According to the Opensignal report, Norway, Czech Republic, Austria, Denmark, Hungary and the Netherlands are excellent countries in terms of providing quality video experience.

The company prepared the report by measuring real-world video streams and using an ITU-based approach for determining video quality. The metric calculation took picture quality, video loading time and stall rate into account. Opensignal used 37,671,772 devices during the survey conducted from August 1 to October 30.

Viewing smartphone video has become extremely important to consumers in 2019, the report said. New video apps continue to launch on mobile first—most recently TikTok—while video has become a part of the fabric of social networks that started out distributing just text and photos, it stated.

Full-screen mobile video ads have been creating vital revenues that support many free apps, the Opensignal report said. The Internet Advertising Bureau has quantified the scale of mobile video advertising saying 62 percent of total video ad starts were happening on mobile, it said.

Opensignal has categorised 0-40 points as poor, 40-55 points as fair, 55-65 points as good, 65-75 points as very good, and 75-100 points as excellent. It measures the average video experience of Opensignal users on 3G and 4G networks.