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Let’s Talk About #6: What makes a good mobile experience?

This week’s episode of #LTA is a little different from what you may be used to, as we have a special guest on the show. Brendan Gill, the co-founder and CEO of mobile analytics firm Opensignal, sat down with me to discuss the topic of mobile internet experience, while also lending some of his insights into what Malaysians need to know when it comes to their mobile internet.

Speed isn’t everything

One of the key take-aways from the interview is that speed isn’t everything, at least when it comes to the experience that users have with their devices. According to Brendan:

“Things like speed is an important indicator, but it’s not the be-all and end-all. Speed isn’t the only thing when it comes to having a good connectivity experience.”

He explains that Opensignal measures the “end-to-end experience” for users, which gives them a more wholistic view of how good a mobile internet connection really is. With users today using their devices—and mobile internet connections—for a whole variety of tasks, it’s important to understand that these tasks often offer differing performances.

Something that’s very relevant to many users, is video experience. Think Netflix, YouTube, or other video platforms. This experience, according to Brendan, is very much dependent on stuff like buffer times, load times, and even the video resolution you get.

Data on all of that is provided in Opensignal’s studies, while there’s also data that shows the comparative performance of local telcos against each other.

“Comparing 4G Download Speed Experience and Video Experience, we noticed that across all three periods our users on Maxis’ network enjoyed the fastest average 4G Download Speeds of at least 20Mbps, while the operator garnered a Very Good rating on 4G Video Experience (65-75 points on a scale of 100).”

– Opensignal report

With mobile video expected to increase by 11x, smartphone manufacturers (and telco providers) are certainly recognising this with plans available today. But as Brendan says, there are a lot more factors at play than simply speed. Which is the main reason why “Video Experience” is such a big thing.

Opensignal’s video experience metric measures exactly what consumers are experiencing when they watch videos. Built on an International Telecommunication Union (ITU)-based approach for measuring video quality, it is derived from several underlying parameters based on real-world measurements of video streams from the world’s largest video content providers.

Opensignal

We also spoke about the steps that Malaysian telco companies can take to further improve the experience users have, as well as the potential of 5G in the Malaysian market. The National Fiberisation and Connectivity Plan, according to Brendan, is a good step forward for Malaysia as well. But right now, we’re still a mid-tier performer when it comes to mobile connectivity in the ASEAN region.

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If you have any thoughts you’d like to add, feel free to leave a comment below (or on YouTube), or you can join RMKD, our Facebook group. We’ll see you there!