Peter Boyland, Senior Analyst
The 2019 season of the Indian Premier League comes to a close this month, as millions of cricket fans across the globe will be glued to their screens to see which team comes out victorious. But in the age of smartphones and with 4G becoming increasingly ubiquitous across India, where's the best place to stream highlights of all the runs and wickets among the IPL cities?
Opensignal has analyzed 50 of India's biggest cities and ranked them based on 4G Video Load Time. This metric measures the average time taken for an initial video buffer to load and for the picture to start moving, in seconds. So the shorter the Video Load Time, the better — especially when you can't wait to see that great six from Dhoni or Chahar's latest wicket. Our rankings probably won't have much effect on who comes top on the pitch, but Chennai is the king of 4G Video Load Time among the eight IPL cities with an average of 6.0 seconds.
Of the other eight IPL cities, Kolkata rode in second with an average 4G Video Load Time of 6.2 seconds, followed by Hyderabad which shone in third with 6.4 seconds. Bangalore and Chandigarh, home of the Kings XI Punjab, just scored under the 7 second mark, with Mumbai, Delhi and Jaipur bringing up the tail.
But Chennai wasn't the best city in the whole of India for loading video on your smartphone. Of the 50 cities we analyzed, Thiruvananthapuram came top with an average 4G Video Load Time of just 5.8 seconds, pushing Chennai into second place. The majority of the cities we measured were batting fairly middle-order in the 6-7 seconds range, while two metros — Vasai-Virar and Kota — were stumped with 4G Video Load Time scores over 8 seconds.
As mobile habits change and big data bundles become more affordable, millions of Indians are turning to their smartphones as their main way of watching video. Bollywood music channel T-Series recently became the first channel on YouTube to pass 100 million subscribers, knocking gaming sensation PewDiePie off the top spot. And India's mobile operators are increasingly looking to content deals to differentiate their services, as the unsustainable price war of recent years eases.
Opensignal's latest report found India's Video Experience is moving in the right direction, as all four of the country's key 4G operators scored a Fair rating — an improvement on the Poor ranking they received when we first analyzed Video Experience in the country six months ago. However, even a Fair rating means load times are sluggish; stops and stutters mid-stream are common and connections often have trouble coping with higher-resolution formats. The mobile Video Experience in India is getting better, but there is still an awful lot of room for improvement.