4G gains dominance as mobile video traffic rockets

DetailsMichelle Clancy | 25 February 2015

Total mobile video traffic of the next six years will be around 17 times that of last six years according to Ericsson's latest mobility report.

Ericsson mobile appsThe survey found that as much as two-thirds of app data traffic over mobile networks comes from five top apps in each country around the globe, with video streaming and social networking leading the way.

In the US, South Korea, and Spain, each nation displays its own unique preferences. For example, in December 2014, the US top three included Netflix and YouTube, while South Korea was notable for peer-to-peer TV app AfreecaTV, and home-grown search portal NAVER. Facebook was the No 1 app in each country studied.

Mobile video dominates traffic growth, and is forecast to grow by around 45% annually through to 2020. Prominent factors driving this rapid growth include increased number of video-enabled devices, larger screens and better picture quality.

Also, video-friendly networking is rapidly snowballing. The report found that in Q4 2014, LTE subscriptions achieved higher net additions, with 110 million, than 3G for the first time. For the full year, there were 800 million smartphone subscriptions added worldwide, taking the total number to 2.7 billion, up 40% from a total of 1.9 billion subscriptions in 2013.

Another prominent driver is that video is becoming an increasing part of online content, such as news, adverts and social media. Video is increasingly shared via popular social sites, such as Twitter.

Findings from the report reflect a decline in the numbers watching broadcast TV, and an increase in those enjoying streaming services. Having studied nine key markets around the world, Ericsson ConsumerLab has identified a shift in consumer viewing behaviour when measuring frequency of viewing: this year for the first time more people will watch streamed on-demand video than broadcast TV over a weekly period in those markets.

Drivers for this change include the advent of 4G technology, the growth in smartphone and tablet usage, and a shift in consumer behaviour towards easy-to-use, on-demand services that offer cross-platform access to content.