AT&T trailed all three of its major competitors in mobile video experience, despite its focus on content through major deals to acquire DirecTV and Time Warner, network benchmarking company OpenSignal found.

In a blog post, OpenSignal VP of analysis Ian Fogg noted none of the US operators performed particularly well. All four were given scores defined as fair, just a step above the lowest-ranking category of poor on a five-step scale.

Fogg explained the rating meant mobile connections from all four operators could handle low-resolution video pretty well, but couldn’t support high-resolution video without stalling and long wait times.

Within that category, though, Verizon came out the clear winner, with a score of 50.57 out of 100. T-Mobile US posted a close second place score of 48.15. Sprint lagged in third with a score of 41.10 while AT&T rounded out the bottom with a score of 40.88.

The finding builds on OpenSignal’s global video report issued in September, which showed network optimisation tactics employed by US operators which limit video bandwidth resulted in poorer-than-expected video performance.

Spotlight on video
All US operators made forays into the content space in recent years, for instance through steaming deals with Netflix (T-Mobile) and Hulu (Sprint), with AT&T taking the most drastic steps to make entertainment a cornerstone of its strategy. Fogg said this promotion means video performance across US operators is critical for consumer satisfaction.

“The challenge for the operators is that all of them are marketing mobile video extensively which increases US consumer demand for mobile video. The operators must then find a way to deliver large quantities of mobile video to their customers’ smartphones at a good-enough quality level.”

He concluded: “If they fail, and the mobile video experience is too poor, then customer satisfaction will drop and their customers will look elsewhere for mobile service.”