OTT streaming drives up mobile bandwidth requirements

DetailsMichelle Clancy | 13 February 2015

Increasing device penetration and an abundance of new entertainment services and video streaming are driving up mobile bandwidth requirements.

According to a recent study conducted by ACG Research and sponsored by Ciena, the average bandwidth consumption per mobile user is expected to increase 52% CAGR through 2018. Smartphone penetration will rise from 5567%, and the resulting usage of over-the-top (OTT) entertainment applications on smartphones will account for 59% of this; largely due to video - with high-bandwidth requirements, long session times and continuous streaming.

Mobile peak usage times, those typically occurring between 9-10 pm, will increase by 71%, from seven minutes today to 12 minutes in 2018. Consumption will also be boosted by new initiatives as OTT providers sponsor data packages (such as those for streaming music). In addition, new 3G and 4G enabled tablets will contribute to the surge in traffic growth, increasing by 20%.

The study further indicates that supporting backhaul capacity requirements will exceed 1 Gbps by 2018, and this will be further intensified by the latest wireless standards such as LTE-Advanced and the introduction of more small cells, which are expected to deliver faster wireless services with broader coverage to users. Service providers need to take steps to deploy a mobile backhaul solution that supports 10 Gbps to meet this projected bandwidth and ensure quality of experience.

"Today's users no longer rank mobile services by price alone," said Michael Kennedy, principal analyst, ACG Research. "Now more than ever, the quality of experience for the latest OTT applications is paramount and a key driver of customer loyalty. In three short years, these networks must offer broader coverage and handle more people using more applications on more devices at the same time. As a result, the backhaul infrastructure must transform to enable a more dynamic experience."