TV and video grab lion’s share of mobile network traffic

Bapun Raz

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Mobile TV and video applications are responsible for between 40–60% of total mobile data traffic on wireless networks according to the Mobile Analytics Report from mobile networks optimisation firm Bytemobile.
The survey gives a very clear indication of increasing usage of mobile TV and video driven by the almost ceaseless growth in the huge uptake in laptops, smartphones and tablets—in particular the iPhone, iPad and in more cases the equivalent Android-based devices—which are being used to consume the majority of mobile video today.

Such growth could create a severe test to those offering such services according to the report’s authors. “Continued aggressive growth in mobile data – fuelled by video and application usage over faster networks and more powerful, user-friendly devices in the hands of billions of people – has created a formidable traffic management challenge for carriers,” said Ronny Haraldsvik, vice president of Global Marketing at Bytemobile.

The Mobile Analytics Report for Q2 2011 revealed that half of the total data traffic that is generated by these devices is from video. It also found that even though general traffic across mobile networks has discernible peaks and troughs, wireless networks need to support video demand not only during peak traffic hours, but at all hours of the day.

The basic equation is that mobile subscribers watch videos longer on better networks thus presenting improved monetisation for those offering such services.

Moreover, placing even greater stress on the network, on average, users are requesting high-resolution videos 29% of the time; however, that percentage of videos is responsible for 45% of total traffic on the network. Alarmingly for network providers, mobile YouTube users accessing through a web browser are served higher resolution videos than subscribers accessing the same videos through the pre-installed YouTube application, regardless of the network or device type. However, three-quarters of iPad users enter a YouTube mobile video session via an app and this increases to four-fifths for an iPhone.

Showing the ramifications of such usage and the size of files transmitted, Bytemobile, a leader in video optimisation across mobile networks, also showed that dependent on network conditions and time of day, mobile videos stall between 5 and 40% of the time.

The company advises that video optimisation technology reduces stalling by 30 – 50% and that subscribers on wireless networks optimised for video consume double the mobile video content than those on un-optimised networks.
 
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