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Cisco-Top-Apps-Smart-Device-Data-Consumption-Feb2013Cisco has released new data from its Visual Networking Index (VNI) Forecast, containing a host of compelling statistics about global mobile data and traffic. Among the interesting findings is a breakdown of the top applications for data consumption, as measured by the Cisco Data Meter during Q4 2012. According to that analysis, video streaming and communications applications such as YouTube, Hulu, and Netflix accounted for exactly half of data consumption on tablets, and 45% on smartphones.

That aligns with research last year from Allot Communications, which found that YouTube alone accounted for one-quarter of global mobile bandwidth in the second half of 2011.

Indeed, according to the Cisco report, video streaming apps consume far more data than any other app category. The next-highest on the list are information apps (such as Google Maps, Wall Street Journal), eating up 17% of tablet data and 12% of smartphone data. As the study notes, social networking consumes a higher share of smartphone (7%) than tablet (3%) traffic, which makes sense considering recent findings that social media captures 31% of smartphone internet time.

Notably, per a January report from Arieso, the heaviest data users are more apt to be smartphone users than tablet users. However, the Cisco report indicates that each tablet generated 2.4 times more monthly traffic than the average smartphone.

Other Findings:

  • The number of mobile-connected devices will surpass the world’s population this year.
  • According to Cisco, global mobile data traffic increased 70% last year. Without accounting for offload onto a fixed network through Wi-Fi or femtocell, growth would have been 96%.
  • Mobile video topped 50% share of traffic during 2012 for the first time, ending the year at 51% share. That is expected to increase to two-thirds share in 2017.
  • Despite accounting for just 0.9% of mobile connections, 4G connections accounted for 14% of mobile data traffic in 2012.
  • The top 1% of mobile data subscribers accounted for 16% of total traffic, down from 52% at the start of 2010. (The Arieso report, which analyzed a single European market, found the “hungriest” 1% to account for 40% of downlink volume.)
  • The average amount of monthly traffic per smartphone grew by 81% in 2012.
  • Android consumption topped iPhone consumption in 2012 in the US and Western Europe.
  • Tablets will top 10% of global mobile data traffic in 2015.

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