Nokia and Microsoft have a mountain to climb if they are to claw back ground already lost to Apple and Android's application stores, statistics from Allot Communications show.
The Finnish vendor and US software giant don't even warrant their own entry in Allot's latest mobile broadband report
- falling into the "other" category in terms of the amount of bandwidth consumed by app downloads, which, combined, accounted for just 3% of app store traffic growth in 2H11. In contrast, Android Market traffic grew a whopping 232% during the period, with Apple's App Store traffic up 61%.
Despite the higher growth, Android Market is still dwarfed by Apple's App Store in terms of overall download traffic, accounting for 18% compared to Apple's 79%. However, Allot's figures show Apple's growth waned in the second half of 2011 - the store generated 84% of download traffic in the first six months of the year.
Allot notes that app store traffic as a whole now represents a significant portion of total mobile bandwidth usage, being roughly on-par with the bandwidth consumed by voice-over-IP (VoIP) and instant messaging (IM). The latter two services were the fastest growing during 2H11; however, the pair accounted for just 5% of mobile data usage, which Allot states is still relatively low.
A look behind the headline VoIP and IM figures reveals some interesting trends, though, notably that new VoIP entrant Viper enjoyed rapid growth during the period to account for just over 2% of VoIP bandwidth. The figure places Viper ahead of Google's Talk service (1% of traffic in 2H11), and just behind Microsoft's Windows Live service (3%).
While Viper's growth stands out, the VoIP market remains dominated by Skype, which accounted for 79% of global VoIP bandwidth in the back-half of the year.
New entrants are also shaking up the IM market, with Allot noting that WhatsApp, a cross-platform mobile messaging application, grew its share of IM traffic from 3% in 1H11 to 18% in 2H (see chart 1 below). The growth came at the expense of big names including Yahoo Messenger, which generated 17% of traffic in 2H11 compared to 29% in 1H, Windows Live (14% in 2H) and Google Talk (5%).
Andrei Elefant, Allot's VP of marketing and product management, says the strong growth of OTT VoIP and IM is as much an opportunity for mobile operators as it is a challenge. "Intelligent, application-based data pricing is the way forward for operators, allowing them to maximize data revenues based on its true value to subscribers," he says.