The International Cricket Council (ICC) World Cup 2023 is set to commence on October 5, this time in the cricket-crazed nation of India. The matches will be spread across 10 iconic stadiums, from newer ones like Narendra Modi Stadium in Ahmedabad to historic gems like Eden Gardens in Kolkata. Over the course of eight thrilling weeks, 10 international cricket teams will compete for the top prize in ODI cricket, drawing millions of fans and spectators from across the globe. With the ubiquity of smartphones and the ever-growing significance of digital connectivity, the mobile network experience in and around these stadiums has become critical in enhancing overall satisfaction and fan engagement at the event.
Ahead of the World Cup, we have examined the state of mobile network experience across these stadiums to see how Indian operators compare. Opensignal data shows that across all ICC Cricket World Cup 2023 stadiums, over all generations of networks, Jio users observe the fastest mobile download speeds, Airtel users enjoy the fastest upload speeds, while Vi is top for experience with over-the-top (OTT) voice services — mobile voice apps such as WhatsApp, Skype and Facebook Messenger. On 5G networks specifically, Airtel steals the lead for the best experience with voice apps. Furthermore, the World Cup isn't just about those inside the stadiums; millions across India will be streaming the event live on their smartphones. In our analysis of the quality of mobile live video streaming experience across the 40 largest cities in India (by population), Airtel outshines other operators in this analysis, coming top or joint-top in a majority of these cities for overall Live Video Experience as well as for 5G Live Video Experience.
Mobile Experience within the stadiums
Starting with mobile speeds in the stadiums, Jio is the winner for download speeds, with our users enjoying the fastest overall and 5G download speeds across all ICC Cricket World Cup 2023 stadiums and their surrounding areas. The overall download speeds with Jio average 61.7Mbps — two times faster than Airtel and 3.5 times faster than Vi. Meanwhile, the 5G download speeds seen by our Jio users average 334.5Mbps — 25.5% times faster than the comparable results for Airtel.
However, when it comes to mobile upload speed in these stadiums, Airtel leads the pack for both overall and 5G upload speeds — 6.6Mbps and 26.3Mbps, on average, respectively. The overall upload speeds with Airtel are 5.2% higher than Jio, 13% higher than Vi and 6.1 times higher than BSNL. Meanwhile, with 5G, the average upload speeds on Airtel are 21.7% faster than Jio.
Fast download and upload speeds are only helpful when you can latch onto an active cellular signal. Our analysis of mobile network Availability (% time) across ICC Cricket 2023 World Cup stadiums in India shows that our Jio users spend the greatest proportion of time connected to a cellular broadband service — a spectacular 99.4% on average, which is slightly higher than users spend with Airtel (98.6%). Vi is in third place with 97% Availability, while BSNL brings up the rear with 87.6%.
Likewise, Jio is also top for 5G Availability in ICC Cricket 2023 World Cup stadiums, with our Jio 5G users spending more than 50% of their time with an active 5G signal — the proportion being 2.6 times greater compared to Airtel (20.7%).
Turning to Voice App Experience, Vi has the edge when it comes to the quality of experience for over-the-top (OTT) voice services — mobile voice apps such as WhatsApp, Skype and Facebook Messenger. On a scale of 0-100, Vi leads with a score of 78.7, half a point higher than Airtel and 1.2 points greater than Jio. With these scores, Airtel, Jio and Vi place in the Acceptable category (74-80) for Voice App Experience, while BSNL's score of 70.8 points rates Poor (66-74) — one rating lower than its peers.
Mobile Experience outside the stadiums
While hundreds of thousands of users will be watching the ICC World Cup 2023 from the stadiums, millions will be streaming the event live on their phones — from the comfort of their homes or on the go – making seamless and high-quality mobile live video streaming experience is crucial during the ICC 2023 World Cup. To assess the quality of live video streaming, Opensignal has analyzed users' experience across the top 40 cities of India (by population) on all four national networks.
Our analysis shows that Airtel dominates the chart, placing top or joint-top for live video streaming in most of these 40 cities. Looking at the overall Live Video Experience, Airtel comes top in 23 cities, beating its rivals outright in 9 cities. In comparison, Jio is top in 22 cities, coming first in nine cities outright. Our users enjoy the top overall video live experience with Vi in 15 cities, beating every major operator in two cities (Lukhnow and Mumbai).
Turning to 5G Live Video Experience, Airtel's dominance is more pronounced, as our users enjoy the top live video streaming experience with 5G on Airtel in 36 out of 40 cities, of which it beats Jio outright in 11 cities. Comparatively, Jio solely beats Airtel in four cities — Amritsar, Bengaluru, Chennai and Hyderabad. Our findings show that users enjoy the outright best experience for overall and 5G mobile live video streaming with Airtel in Aurangabad, Indore, Jaipur, Nagpur, Nashik, Pimpri-Chinchwad, Pune and Vasai Virar.
The 5G Live Video Experience is significantly superior to the overall Live Video Experience across all cities analyzed, while the former rates from Very Good to Excellent, the latter rates from Poor to Very Good, depending on the user's network operator.
As witnessed during IPL 2023, when over 449 million smartphone users streamed the tournament online, live streaming holds immense significance for Indian consumers. Any operator offering the best Live Video Experience holds a competitive advantage, catering to the insatiable appetite for cricket in the nation.
Within the stadium, a strong mobile network is crucial for communication, safety, and engagement. It enables spectators to stay connected with friends and family, report emergencies, access real-time updates, and share their experiences on social media. Additionally, it supports mobile ticketing and entry, cashless transactions, and the use of event-specific apps for enhanced convenience. However, the importance of mobile connectivity continues beyond the stadium gates. In the areas surrounding the stadium, a reliable network is vital for booking cabs and rideshares, navigating through traffic, finding parking, and using public transportation. Fans can also explore nearby businesses and services, receive event-related promotions, and ensure their overall experience is seamless. Consequently, the operators with strong mobile network experience in these locations also have a distinct edge over the competition.
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