The COVID-19 pandemic has changed people’s habits at an unprecedented scale. People have become more dependent on internet connectivity to stay in touch while spending much more time at home than previously. Attending group video calls has become an essential part of everyone’s reality — whether it’s connecting with colleagues on a video conference or chatting with family and friends. Group video communication has never been more important.
Popular mobile communication apps typically display between two and eight users on a group video call using a smartphone. Opensignal’s Group Video Calling Experience metric reflects this real-world usage. For example, WhatsApp supports up to eight people on a group video call, raised from four early in 2020 as a response to the pandemic; Zoom displays four video streams at once on a smartphone; Line supports four people on a video call; WeChat supports nine; Microsoft Teams displays eight video streams on a smartphone; and Facetime dynamically resizes windows to display around 6-8 people at once, although up to 32 can be on the call.
Opensignal’s Group Video Calling Experience measures the proportion of video calls where all users had at least an adequate or better video conference experience. In simple terms, Group Video Calling Experience measures whether all users in a group video call – not just a small number of users – had both sufficient (or better) video and audio quality. It therefore takes into account that a poor experience for one or more users will impact all users on a conference call, so having a consistent experience across all users on a group video call is important.
We have looked at 21 markets in our first Group Video Calling Experience analysis in the APAC region. We saw a broad range of scores — East Asia and Australasia markets scored higher in the mobile Group Video Calling Experience, while South and Central Asian markets lagged behind. Our users experienced the most seamless video conferencing on mobile devices in Japan and Singapore. Both markets are in a statistical tie, with scores of 85.7 and 85.3 points respectively, and are the APAC leaders for Group Video Calling Experience.
South Korea is hot on the frontrunners’ heels with a score of 84.2. The fourth market to surpass the 80-point threshold is Australia, while New Zealand barely missed this mark with its 79.1 score. Two more markets have crossed the 70-point mark as well — Taiwan and Vietnam.
Among operators, Japan’s SoftBank was the only operator to hit the 90-point mark for Group Video Calling Experience. Two more Japanese operators — NTT DoCoMo and au — scored more than 85 points, along with StarHub and Singtel from Singapore and SK telecom from South Korea. Below are the results for all the operators in the APAC markets we have analyzed in this report and how they deliver on the mobile video group calling experience.
The future of Group Video Calling
Group Video Calling Experience uses measurements from Opensignal’s real-world video tests and our voice app calling tests. To calculate Group Video Calling Experience, we consider a range of scenarios that reflect typical numbers of call participants displayed during a smartphone video call – two, four and eight participants – to represent the real-world mobile video conference experience. Group Video Calling Experience for each operator is measured on a scale from 0 to 100.
As the world continues to change, the activities everyone has embraced during 2020 and 2021 will likely remain a part of people’s lives. Group video chats and video conferences existed before COVID-19. But now they are a mainstream part of everyone’s life. Opensignal’s Group Video Calling Experience metric provides an essential guide to the mobile network experience of people internationally by market and also across mobile operators.
By Robert Wyrzykowski, Senior Industry Analyst at Opensignal