This month sees the start of the 6 Nations rugby championship — one of the oldest competitions in the sport featuring the cream of European rugby union. And from the moment these games kick off, there will be millions of fans looking to stream live video feeds and highlights to their mobile phones across the continent. But how many of these fans wanting to see the top tries and tackles will be frustrated by waiting for their mobile videos to load?
OpenSignal's 4G video load time metric measures the average time it takes from pressing play to load the initial video buffer and display the first frame. Video loading is linked to our 4G latency and 4G download and upload measurements, and forms part of our first-of-its-kind Video Experience metric.
The 6 Nations includes the crème de la crème of European rugby — but how do these countries perform compared to their European rugby peers? OpenSignal has selected 15 cities that are home to the top 15 international teams in European rugby (based on the World Rugby rankings, 07 Jan 2019) to see how they compare for video load time experience over 4G networks. And the bad news for the top-tier 6 Nations teams — England, France, Ireland, Italy, Scotland and Wales — is that their home cities fared pretty poorly compared to their neighbours.
Amsterdam, home of the Netherlands rugby team, came top of our analysis, with an average load time of 2.5 seconds over the country's 4G networks. This was followed fairly closely by Switzerland's Bern on 2.6 sec and Spain's Madrid and Romania's Bucharest, both on 2.7 sec.
The teams going head-to-head in the 6 Nations were all firmly in the bottom half of OpenSignal's table. Current 6 Nations rugby champions Ireland featured highest with a 4G video loading score of 3.1 sec, but the other five were all at the bottom of the table with scores of 3.5 sec or above. Wales fans look set to be the most frustrated — if not by their team's performance, at least by their video loading experience — as their capital city Cardiff props up the bottom of the table with an average score of 4.3 sec.
OpenSignal recently published its inaugural State of Mobile Video report, which analyzed how consumers experienced video over mobile networks in 69 countries around the world, ranking them on a scale of 0-100 based on video load time, stalling rates and picture quality. Nine European countries achieved scores in the Very Good (65-75) range (out of a global total of 11), including our overall leader, the Czech Republic. Also representing Europe in the Very Good category were Hungary, Norway, Belgium, Netherlands, Denmark, Austria, Switzerland and Slovakia, while most of the other European countries were in the Good category. European countries tended to rank higher than their counterparts in the Americas, while Asian and Middle Eastern countries were scattered throughout the rankings.
Will you be watching the 6 Nations on your phone, and what's your experience of mobile video load times in Europe's cities? Let us know in the comments section below or on Twitter.