Boston Consulting Group Says Low Latency Is Key to Smartphone User Satisfaction

It’s not all about download speed September 25, 2017

BOSTON — The Boston Consulting Group recently created a proprietary application that roughly 1,500 volunteers installed on their smartphones. The app measured latency and throughput, and it presented questions to users immediately after data sessions in order to measure satisfaction, according to rcrwireless.com. The goal of the test was to correlate end-user satisfaction with actual network performance.

“Speed actually doesn’t matter beyond a certain point,” the firm reported after analyzing the results. “At about 1.5 Mbps, essentially additional speed didn’t really register for most users — they didn’t know that they were getting more speed and it didn’t improve satisfaction.” The survey found that 1.5 Mbps was enough speed to satisfy users during most video sessions, unless users are streaming videos on large-screen devices.

The major cell carrier claims of network speeds that reach and even surpass a gigabit per second may not even be relevant. BCG said “the largest driver of customer satisfaction with mobile networks was latency, and that even that was nearing the boundaries of human perception in some cases,” according to the same article. “Once you reached an acceptable latency, investing more on reducing latency actually had low returns.”

Clearly if you look at network performance as a simple math problem, increasing the overall network capacity will allow for more users at a fixed download rate. Carrier aggregation, massive MIMO and 256 QAM expand the capacity of mobile networks, and that means said networks can deliver more data to more users every second.

 

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