Below-par networks that cause delays in video streaming and the loading of web pages send consumer stress levels and heart rates spiralling, revealed Ericsson in the Mobile World Congress (MWC) edition of its Mobility Report.
In a twist to the report, the company introduced a neuroscience study, led by Ericsson ConsumerLab, intended to capture objective reactions to varied levels of network performance experienced on a smartphone.
The study showed that on average, delays in loading web pages and videos led to a 38 per cent increase in heart rate, while delays of up to six seconds to a video stream caused stress levels to increase by a third.
Ericsson said the study measured brain activity, eye movements and pulse while completing tasks such as browsing web pages and watching video clips. The study also looked into smartphone users and their perception of mobile operators and digital content providers, as they used their smartphones.
“To put (the results) in context, the stress incurred is equivalent to the anxiety of taking a maths test or watching a horror film alone, and greater than the stress experienced by standing at the edge of a virtual cliff,” read the report.
Rima Qureshi, SVP and chief strategy officer added however, “if there are no such delays, we unconsciously become more satisfied with our mobile service provider”.
Data traffic surges
Ericsson revealed total mobile data traffic grew 65 per cent year on year in Q4 2015, as smartphones accounted for 75 per cent of all mobile phones sold during the period.
The company, which raised its forecast for mobile data traffic in November to grow at 45 per cent annually through to 2021, said video remains the largest generator of data traffic, followed by social networking, which is also forecast to grow 12 times in the next six years, from figures in the six years prior.
The report also showed that approximately 45 per cent of all mobile subscriptions today are associated with smartphones, compared to 40 per cent last year, “leaving considerable room for further uptake”.
Qureshi said social networking is predicted to see a surge as smartphone penetration continues to increase, “making it very convenient to access social media platforms”.
Meanwhile, “the growth in video is boosted mainly by the growing availability and popularity of video content services, devices with larger and higher resolution screens, high performing networks enabling a better experience and changing user behaviour,” she added.