Mobile video traffic to grow 13X by 2019, straining already congested networks

By Jim O'Neill on Jun 09 2014 at 9:00 AM

Video traffic is expected to grow 13-fold between 2013 and 2019, faster than any other segment of mobile data traffic, giving it just more than half of all global mobile data traffic, a new report from Ericsson says.

And, according to SNL Kagan (sub. req’d), that surge – which was estimated to be even larger by Cisco Systems – already has created bandwidth congestion hurdles for the mobile industry.

“As… consumer need for data continues to explode, the necessity to provide uninterrupted data becomes a huge challenge to millions of users,’ Graham Board, global product manager at MACOM, a Massachusetts-based technology solution provider told SNL Kagan.

Ericsson, in its 2014 Mobility Report, said video accounts for 35% of all traffic to smartphones, but more than 50% of all tablet traffic.

The company attributed the growth to both the increasing number of available mobile devices capable of showing video and an increase in the amount of available video for mobile devices.

Ericsson pointed to a growing number of service providers making TV content available to mobile devices via TV Everywhere plays, and, in the process, putting additional strain on their own networks.

That move to mobile networks, Ericsson said, is “changing the way we watch TV and video, by enabling us to watch it over multiple devices. The growth of mobile video traffic is also facilitated by the better network speeds that come with HSPA and LTE deployment.”

Ericsson said that in France, some 65% of Internet users use mobile screens, to consume video on a weekly basis; in South Korea, meanwhile, about 80 percent of consumers use mobile screens for video viewing on a weekly basis. Both countries see significant mobile viewing outside the home.

The study found that global mobile subscriptions have continued to grow 7 percent year-on-year and 2 percent quarter-on-quarter. Global mobile penetration reached 93 percent in Q1 2014.

Overall mobile data traffic is expected to grow at a CAGR of 45 percent through 2019, resulting in a 10-fold increase by the end of 2019.

Elie Sader, director of solutions at Harmonic, told SNL Kagan that the industry needs to develop smarter technologies where all video is delivered via IP-based infrastructure.

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