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Mobile video volume on LTE already 5x greater than 3G

Video over LTE is on the rise

A report by analytics vendor Citrix has revealed the extent of LTE-based video streaming growth. The report focuses on the consumption of LTE-based services among global tier 1 operators; and concludes LTE is already generating five times greater data volume than 3G at operators that offer both.

On average, mobile subscribers on LTE networks are 50% more likely to watch video on the move than 3G subscribers; whilst a longer average viewing time is also observed. Due to increased mobile broadband availability, high definition video files are being consumed by users; and a move away from tradition mp4 files is on the cards.

“New mobile video formats are delivering higher quality videos to subscribers. Specifically, we are seeing HLS and Smooth Streaming mobile video formats growing in popularity, reducing MP4 format video format from 74% last year to 56% of mobile video traffic volumes this year”, said Anna Yong, senior product marketing manager at Citrix.

iOS device subscribers generate proportionally more video data volume than subscribers on Android platforms, the survey reports; 38% and 27.5% respectively.

There are concerns amongst the wider telecoms community, however, that an increasing trend in mobile video consumption could put a strain on network infrastructure, when considering limited bandwidth availability.

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UK operator Three, which operates all-you-can-eat data plans on both 4G and 3G networks, told Telecoms.com: “All-you-can-eat data is part of the mix and something that some of our customers really value. Like any network at peak times in busy areas, we need to manage the network experience for all. Behaviour on 4G is not markedly different from our advanced 3G network, but the extra capacity is delivering those using 4G a better experience.”

LTE helps ease the load on existing infrastructure, and reduce capacity concerns for telcos, according to a report from Ovum Research. “The majority of operators launching LTE are doing so to be first to market, to illustrate technology leadership, or for competitive differentiation, rather than to directly combat capacity constraints. However, the spectral-efficiency enhancement that LTE offers will benefit operators that either obtain new spectrum assets or refarm existing spectrum for LTE,” concluded the report.

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