The UK operators were put to the test by Argogroup, the specialist in mobile user experience testing, before, during and after England’s World Cup match against Trinidad & Tobago. The results were less than thrilling for mobile industry watchers.
Of the five operators, 3 remained the best all-round performer when in 3G coverage, Orange performed consistently if unspectacularly while T-Mobile performed well on SMS alerts – even adding commentary to the raw score line alert – but with delays on picture and video alerts, some of which would not download at all or were delivered in the wrong order.
Argogroup Test Highlights
- Lacking Pace – News of Crouch’s goal reached users of FIFA’s
free alert service in just over two minutes compared with the four-operator average of 3.95 minutes. The fifth operator failed the test entirely as users could not sign up for the alerts due to portal errors.
- Relegation Zone – The worst-performing operator took a full 7.3
minutes to deliver the Crouch goal alert – and charged 12p for the service.
- Failed to equalize – Users awaiting news of Steven Gerrard’s
second goal fared no better. FIFA/Yahoo delivered the SMS alert in 73 seconds, while the operators, on average, took 4.1 minutes. The worst performer made the sluggish Ronaldo look like Thierry Henry, taking over eight minutes to deliver the alert.
- 3G long shot goes wide – One operator’s 3G portal performance
disappointed fans who happened to be out of 3G coverage as its portal reverted to a sports-free zone.
- Red card – The worst-performing operator was on average three
times slower than the pack, sending the team line-ups to sports fans 44 minutes after kick-off. Its SMS goal alert was seven times slower than FIFA’s, arriving long after other operators had delivered an edited video clip of the goal. The good news – at least there was no ‘Mr Men’
promotion showing during the match this time!
The test was the second to be run by Argogroup, with results that mirrored those for England’s first game against Paraguay last Saturday.
“Clearly, our industry has a long way to go if we want to be seen as a serious provider of sports coverage,” said James Pearce, Argogroup CTO, “Operators have proven (with the FIFA alerts) that they can deliver 160 characters in a timely manner. What they failed to show is that they can add value by delivering their own content faster than, say, the average newspaper.”
Argogroup will continue to monitor the performance of the mobile operators as the World Cup progresses.
“This is hugely important to everyone in the industry,” says David Frodsham, Argogroup CEO, “Our collective future rests on our ability to be credible content players. We believe that active testing can help operators get it right – but first we must all admit we’re getting it wrong.”
Argogroup plans to continue testing throughout the World Cup.