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Video now accounts for half of mobile data traffic

Video now accounts for half of mobile data traffic

Video now accounts for half of all data transferred on mobile networks, up from 40% during the same time last year, according to ByteMobile's first quarter 2012 Mobile Analytics Report.

Where is the video growth coming from? Increased use of tablets, more support for HD video etc?

On certain mobile networks, video can account for up to 69% of traffic, ByteMobile found in its quarterly survey of 3G and 4G mobile networks that use ByteMobile's network management tool, SmartCapacity.

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Smartphone and tablet users are driving the increased video volumes, as is the rise of full-length and studio-quality videos, live streaming of multimedia content and two-way video communication.

"The widespread use of smartphones, tablets and other high-end mobile devices - combined with the explosion of rich media and the delivery of applications over the web − has driven network data traffic volume to new heights," says Stacey Infantino, of ByteMobile. "With 2G and 3G networks giving way to 4G networks − fueling mobile subscriber appetites for high-definition video, streaming media, on-demand movies, and more − network capacity has become a business challenge for mobile network operators (MNOs)."

Diving into the specific findings in the study, ByteMobile found that volume increases substantially based on video resolution. For example, while a five minute 360p video, which accounts for the majority of mobile video traffic, creates 10M to 15MB of data, a high definition video can create five times as much data, or 75MB, the study found.

Tablets also generally create more data than smartphones, ByteMobile found. Android tablets create twice as much data compared to Android-based smartphones, and iPads create three times as much data as iPhones, the study reports.

In terms of advertising-related traffic, Android-based devices create more transactions compared to iOS and Google's advertising services, including DoubleClick, AdMob and AdSense, generate 75% of data produced by advertisements. Meanwhile, Apple's iAd generates higher data per transaction, a finding ByteMobile said points to the "richer media content" found in iAd promotions.

As for social networking, Facebook is where users spend the most amount of their time. Each Facebook session lasts an average of 9.06 minutes, while users spent an average of 8.51 minutes on YouTube and 4.57 minutes per session on Twitter. Even though YouTube sessions are on average shorter, they create 350 times the amount of data (40MB) per session compared to Facebook (120KB), emphasizing the data-rich content of videos.

For the full results of the study, click here.

Network World staff writer Brandon Butler covers cloud computing and social media. He can be reached at and found on Twitter at @BButlerNWW.

Read more about anti-malware in Network World's Anti-malware section.

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