Mobile data traffic is on the rise, and — with sites like YouTube increasing their mobile traffic three-fold in the last year — the popularity of data-heavy video is one of the main reasons why. But some new research, once again, shows us that it’s just a small number of us mobile consumers who are using video. Is that good news or bad?
Figures from Bytemobile — a mobile traffic management specialist — show that video dominated mobile data traffic in 2010, accounting for over 40 percent of the total volume in wireless networks worldwide.
Based on usage trends, Bytemobile believes that number will go up to 60 percent in the next year, driven by the rise in full-length and higher-quality video, as well as two-way video communications like videocalling.
But right now, that usage is coming from a fairly small group of people: astoundingly, just 10 percent of subscribers consume 90 percent of total mobile network traffic.
Bytemobile’s figures tally up with those from Nielsen, which in December noted that in Q2 2010 only about 10 percent of the mobile-using public in the U.S. were accessing some form of video content on their handsets.
Having heavy usage in such a concentrated group might not be such a bad thing: operators are putting in data caps already to curtail usage, and they claim that for the most part these caps are not affecting the majority of users.
The real worry, though, is how video usage might grow into something more mainstream. The more advanced our handsets get, and the more common these handsets become, the more widespread video usage will become, too. Bytemobile says that even the rollout of LTE networks might not be a strong enough levee to contain that onrush.