By Indranil Das; Head of Digital Services – Ericsson Middle East and Africa
With faster more efficient internet available on proliferating mobile devices, videos are estimated to dominate mobile traffic
The fast-paced growth of the mobile industry has re-shaped our society in unimaginable ways and many developments are yet to come. The rise of video content is something to watch out for, especially as operators are consistently working on enhancing mobile broadband.
Video traffic in mobile networks continues to grow, driven by increased viewing time, more embedded video in other media and progress toward higher resolutions. Mobile video traffic is forecasted to grow by around 45 percent annually through 2023 to account for 73 percent of all mobile data traffic.
There are two key trends to look out for in terms of video content in the next five years, as highlighted by Ericsson Mobility Report:
- Increased streaming of immersive video formats such as 360-degree video, will impact data traffic consumption. For example, a YouTube 360-degree video consumes four to five times as much bandwidth as a normal YouTube video at the same resolution.
- Traffic from social networking is also expected to rise – increasing by 31 percent annually over the next six years.
What does this mean for operators?
More streaming and a rise in mobile traffic from social networks has great implications for telecom operators in the region. Streaming videos in different resolutions can impact data traffic to a high degree as people like to immerse themselves in their favorite content.
There is a need for tools to help professionals stay on top of this extremely dynamic segment of content consumption. So, we have announced new innovations that will help them monitor apps and mobile traffic. The Ericsson Mobility Calculator is an interactive web application which has been launched to explore the relationship between the usage of various app types and monthly traffic per subscription.
The application enables an analyst or business planner to quickly and simply see the connection between the evolution toward higher video resolutions and the growth in traffic per month per subscriber.
Internationally, factors that drive higher mobile data usage include better-quality device capabilities and more affordable data plans, as well as an increase in data-intensive content. This offers users more freedom to comfortably consume the content they want, when they want.
What can we expect going forward?
Today, close to 85 percent of total mobile data traffic is generated by smartphones. This figure is expected to reach 95 percent by the end of 2023. Smartphone manufacturers are constantly improving their products so whether you’re streaming the latest binge-worthy show or a new music album, high-quality video and audio will keep you engaged and make your show, song, or podcast that much more enjoyable.
Along with high growth in numbers for smartphone subscriptions and mobile traffic, the Ericsson Mobility Report makes several new predictions for the next five years:
- Close to 95 percent of all subscriptions will be for mobile broadband by the end of 2023.
- The number of smartphone subscriptions is forecast to reach 7.2 billion in 2023, and almost all will be for mobile broadband
- By 2023, 1 billion 5G devices for enhanced mobile broadband are expected to be connected worldwide.
Customers’ overall satisfaction with a mobile network is strongly correlated with their satisfaction with video streaming, according to a survey by Swisscom, a market-leading operator based in Switzerland.
Although customers were most satisfied with the quality of the video, the two most relatively important aspects for video satisfaction were smoothness of playback (no video freezing) and the time taken to load and start a video.
Among those customers who are satisfied with their video streaming experience, eight out of ten are also satisfied with the mobile network experience. Moreover, 72 percent of users who are dissatisfied with video streaming are not satisfied with the mobile network experience. Hence, operators need to be invested in network performance and continually work towards refining it.
With developments in 5G and video streaming proving itself to be the next big thing in the mobile sector, we believe this year is pivotal for operators in terms of changing the technological landscape of the world.
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