OTT Mobile Video Streaming to Surge During World Cup 2018, Concerns of Poor QoE and Bill Shock Loom

OTT Mobile Video Streaming to Surge During World Cup 2018, Concerns of Poor QoE and Bill Shock Loom Image Credit: Openwave Mobility

1 in 3 football fans (31%) are expected to watch the 2018 Russia World Cup on mobile data, according to an independent research based on over 3,000 European subscribers conducted on behalf of Openwave Mobility.

This is nearly double the number of people who watched the 2014 Brazilian World Cup (17%) using mobile data. The 2018 World Cup study was conducted in the UK, Spain and Germany and found that mobile operators can expect a surge in live streaming traffic over the course of the tournament.

Many subscribers (29%) however, revealed that they will shun their mobiles owing to poor Quality of Experience (QoE) and bill shock concerns. During the 2014 Brazilian tournament, European subscribers shared the same worries through a study conducted in May 2014. Even after four years, the same fears of poor QoE and bill shock still dog the industry.

“While the demand for mobile video has grown dramatically, improvements in QoE have not necessarily gone hand in hand,” said John Giere, CEO of Openwave Mobility. “Consecutive studies have shown that subscribers will only tolerate six seconds of buffering before switching off in frustration. And a global sporting phenomenon like the World Cup adds another layer of complexity. Live streaming coupled with a surge in demand can strain mobile networks more than Video on Demand streaming. So, whether it is watching a funny cat video or Mo Salah’s dribbling skills – buffering and stalling can get the red card treatment from subscribers!”

Giere continued, “However, operators should note that there is money on the table for monetizing mobile video on the back of major sporting events. The survey found that almost 2 in 3 (62%) football fans would switch to a mobile operator who offered a price-plan to watch unlimited football on their mobile data connection – and 20% were prepared to pay extra for this.”

Additional findings from the research include:

 - Football fans in Spain are much more inclined to watch matches on the go, compared to other nations. 1 in 2 (51%) will watch Sergio Ramos and the team in Moscow on a handset.  Spanish footy fans topped the table again during Brazil 2014 when 1 in 3 watched on mobile data, beating the British and German fans.

 - 39% of European Millennials will watch the 2018 World Cup over mobile data. That is twice the number of Baby Boomers (21%) watching the Russian tournament on a handset.

Giere concluded, “Openwave Mobility has over 30 global deployments and during the World Cup we will be closely tracking the impact live streaming video has on mobile networks. In autumn, we will be launching the Mobile Video Industry Council and the detailed findings will be discussed with the world’s leading operators. Watch this space for more details.”

More details on the Russia 2018 World Cup survey is available on the Openwave Mobility blog.

Executive Editor of The Fast Mode | 5G | IoT/M2M | Telecom Strategy | Mobile Data Innovations 

Tara Neal covers stories on strategies and initiatives in the Digital Telco space, and anchors the 5G and IoT/M2M verticals on the publication. Tara holds a First Class Honours in BSc Accounting and Finance from The London School of Economics, UK and is a CFA charterholder from the CFA Institute, United States. Tara has over 20 years experience in technology and business strategy.

Follow her on Twitter @taraneal11, LinkedIn @taraneal11, Facebook or email her at


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