The almost insatiable for over the top OTT video from sources such as YouTube and Netflix is set to create a surge in global data traffic to more than seven times the current rate.

Specifically ABI Research calculates that by the end of 2011 the global; by 2016 it estimates that this figure will rocket by 50% CAGR to 60,000 Petabytes.

And the engine such phenomenal growth will be online video. Explained ABI Research practice director Neil Strother: “There are basically two types of video use cases that drive heavy traffic: clips from YouTube (and similar sites) that are often shared via other social media, as well as lengthier content like series and even films (e.g. Netflix). Video and TV streaming should surpass web and Internet traffic in 2015.”

Further driving traffic will be the increased usage of laptops, media tablets and other devices larger than handsets for mobile video applications. ABI predicts that the traffic generated by devices other than handsets will grow from about 65% of the total in 2011 to over three-quarters in the next five years

Yet the analyst cautions that operators need to show innovation in order to best monetise this OTT online video explosion. It advices that operators should better align the pricing and the allowance of data plans with usage patterns and that pricing and data policy are relatively inexpensive ways for operators to differentiate their offerings and ease network congestion, compared, for example, to investments in infrastructure.