Skyfire’s data shows that on India’s 3G networks 40% of all video streams ran at bitrates of less than 300 kbps, a very low speed for video playback on mobile devices. On mobile devices, HD video requires five to ten times higher bandwidth, and the immensely popular auto-play videos within the Vine and Instagram apps use a much higher bitrate (900-1300 kbps); therefore they will typically not play without frustratingly long start times. “Significant stalling” is defined as a video that stalls or buffers more than 10% of its overall playback time, and more than half (56%) of videos on India’s 3G networks experienced playback issues at this rate.
India’s 2G networks fared even worse for mobile video. On 2G, over 99% of users experienced at least some stalling. Skyfire has found through extensive testing that more than 56% of video consumers on India’s 3G networks suffer from significant stalling and re-buffering issue which is leading to high video abandonment rates. Overall, 83% of users on 3G experience at least some stalling while trying to watch video.
This new data is noteworthy, because India is in a unique position with regard to video consumption on mobile devices. According to Cisco’s 2013 Visual Networking Index, mobile data traffic in India is projected to reach a whopping 900 petabytes per month by 2017, with 60% of that data coming from mobile video alone. Additionally, YouTube, by far India’s most popular video site, announced earlier this year that 30% of all YouTube videos consumed in India were already being watched on mobile.