Online Video Drives Mobile Data Traffic to Double

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Mobile data traffic has doubled once again — and again, we can thank online video.

The staggering boost in online video viewing and increased use of mobile devices caused this surge in data traffic over the past 12 months, according to the latest Ericsson Mobility Report.

Data usage is likely to continue its growth, according to an article by GigaOM, and traffic is expected to increase 12-fold over the next six years.

Web browsing and video consumption make up 35 percent of data traffic through smartphones, and half of that, according to Ericsson, occurs on mobile networks rather than Wi-Fi connections.

"While all industry forecasts (such as Cisco's VNI) forecast strong mobile data growth, and rightfully so, we are also in the midst of a major tipping point that will ultimately tell whether growth will remain on such an aggressive trajectory," Rich Karpinski, Yankee Group senior analyst, noted.

"Such predictions are made based on a number of hard parameters such as smartphone adoption, but also on softer metrics, such as user demand — which by most measurements is predicted to just continue to rise," he added.

Karpinski also said that data caps are slowing demand, especially for high-bandwidth video services that do not fit well under existing cap structures.

"The next wave of mobile growth will be driven by video, no doubt, but only if operator pricing approaches and monetization strategies enable it," he said. "That dynamic will foretell whether such aggressive forecasts turn out to be correct."

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