Carriers not ready for video boom

Michael Carroll
21 Apr 2011

Global operators are unprepared for an onslaught of video traffic that could hit them within two years, the head of marketing at traffic management firm Bytemobile says.

Ronny Haraldsvik, the firm’s vice president of marketing, told Telecoms predictions video traffic will account for two thirds of all mobile data traffic by 2015 are off the mark, and that the figure will actually be hit by end 2012. That will catch most operators off-guard, even those deploying LTE to cope with growing mobile data traffic.

“LTE is making traffic demand greater,” Haraldsvik says, explaining that the higher quality network increases the ability to distribute more bandwidth heavy content like HD video, which users then come to regard as the norm.

With recent data from the firm revealing that video generated 40% of all data traffic in 2010, and that 9% of subscribers generate 38% of that video traffic, the potential for growth is huge.

Haraldsvik says operators are only just beginning to plan for the potential increases, but could still be caught short by enhancements to services that are already generating huge mobile data traffic, like social network Facebook. “Half of Facebook users access the site via mobile,” he notes, adding. “What happens when Facebook meets Skype?”

While the growing demand is good news for Bytemobile, which has enjoyed high exposure in the past year due to operator demand for help offloading video and broader data traffic, Haraldsvik says changes are also needed to the architecture of the mobile internet.

“3GPP is a ten year old architecture. We’re asking that to deal with traffic that wasn’t imagined a decade ago. All that signaling traffic can’t be handled at the RAN side – it has to go over the network,” he states.

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