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Video to drive surge in data traffic, says ABI Research

Video will drive worldwide mobile data traffic past the 60,000 petabytes level in 2016, up from 8000 petabytes this year, according to a new forecast from ABI Research.

So great is the appetite for streaming video and television that it will surpass Web and Internet traffic by 2015, says Neil Strother, ABI Research practice director. According to Strother, two separate types of video are driving traffic — clips from YouTube and similar sites frequently shared via social media and longer content, such as television series and films, from over-the-top services such as Netflix.

Another important factor driving online video consumption is the uptake by consumers of devices with larger screens than handsets, such as laptop computers, tablets and other devices, the research firm said. The result is traffic generated by devices other than handsets will climb from about 65 percent of all traffic this year to more than 75 percent in 2016.

Operators looking to meet the challenges that will be presented by the dramatic growth in video traffic have a couple of options, says ABI Research senior analyst Aapo Markkanen. “Pricing and data policy are relatively inexpensive ways for operators to differentiate their offerings and ease network congestion, if compared to investments in infrastructure. Operators should better align the pricing and the allowance of data plans with usage patterns. It is an area with a lot of scope for innovation,” says Markkanen.

A new report from ABI Research, “Mobile Data Traffic Analysis,” examines the nonvoice, non-SMS/MMS traffic transferred over mobile data networks.