An Ericsson study has measured smartphone users’ stress levels caused by content loading delays, with neuroscience technology employed to “objectively measure emotional responses to varied smartphone experiences”.The Mobile World Congress edition of the Ericsson Mobility Report “reveals the impact of different levels of network performance on smartphone users and their perceptions of mobile operators and digital content providers”.
Ericsson found that delays in loading web pages and videos under time pressure caused users’ heart rates to rise an average of 38 per cent, while six-second video streaming delays caused stress levels to increase by a third.
“To put that in context, the stress incurred is equivalent to the anxiety of taking a math test or watching a horror movie alone, and greater than the stress experienced by standing at the edge of a virtual cliff,” Ericsson states.
An additional pause, once the video has started, can again “cause stress levels to increase dramatically”.
Ericsson found that an operator’s net promoter score increased significantly when associated with a delay-free experience, dropping with moderate time-to-content and re-buffering delays.
The report additionally found that social networking is second only to video in driving mobile traffic growth, with social networking traffic to be around 12 times that of the previous six years in the coming six years.
Among the report’s other findings, the total number of mobile subscriptions in the 2015 fourth quarter reached 100 per cent penetration at around 7.3 billion, the same number of mobile subscriptions as people in the world.
Ericsson found that global mobile data traffic grew 65 per cent between the 2014 fourth quarter and 2015 fourth quarter, and that there are now one billion LTE subscriptions worldwide, with approximately 160 million additions in the 2015 fourth quarter.