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Demand for Mobile Video Streaming to Surge during FIFA World Cup 2018

Independent Research from Openwave Mobility Shows Mobile Streaming of World Cup Matches Could Double Compared to Previous World Cup

1 in 3 football fans (31%) will watch the 2018 Russia World Cup using mobile data which counts nearly double the number of people that watched the 2014 Brazilian World Cup (17%) using mobile data.
The 2018 World Cup study conducted by Openwave Mobility surveyed over 3,000 European subscribers in the UK, Spain and Germany 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. During the 2014 Brazilian tournament, European subscribers shared the same worries through a study conducted in May 2014.

FIFA World Cup 2018

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.

Independent Research

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 the 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.”


Niloy Banerjee

A generic movie-buff, passionate and professional with print journalism, serving editorial verticals on Technical and B2B segments, crude rover and writer on business happenings, spare time playing physical and digital forms of games; a love with philosophy is perennial as trying to archive pebbles from the ocean of literature. Lastly, a connoisseur in making and eating palatable cuisines.

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