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Netflix dominates UK data, WhatsApp rules Africa

Sandvine’s Global Internet Phenomena report has revealed Netflix has become the second biggest driver of traffic across fixed networks in the UK while WhatsApp is dominating data use in Africa.

Sandvine, a provider of intelligent broadband network solutions for fixed and mobile operators, has released its bi-annual Internet traffic trends report, entitled “Global Internet Phenomena Report 1H2014”. The report is based on data from a selection of Sandvine’s 250-plus communications service provider (CSP) customers spanning North America, Europe, Middle East and Africa, Caribbean and Latin America and Asia-Pacific.

Just over two years after its launch, Netflix has become the second largest driver of traffic on fixed access networks in the UK and Ireland,” said Dave Caputo, President and CEO, Sandvine. “This rapid ascent underscores how important it is that operators have business intelligence solutions in place to accurately measure and monitor the impact that over-the-top services have on their networks.

The biggest shift in Africa, meanwhile was the domination of data use in Africa by WhatsApp – or at least, Africa on the Econet network.

Econet Wireless developed and launched an unlimited WhatsApp bundle, using Sandvine’s Usage Management solution implemented with Sandvine’s local partner Three6Five Technologies. The WhatsApp bundles include varying plans – 30 cents daily, 95 cents per week and $3 a month – to offer bite-sized Internet plans priced to meet the needs of the market demographic.

Sandvine’s leading business intelligence and service innovation capabilities enable us to better understand emerging trends on our network and act quickly to rapidly introduce new, innovative services that are highly-valued by our customers and that give us a competitive edge in our market,” said Leon de Fleuriot, General Manager: Products and Services.

Since February 2014, the Unlimited WhatsApp bundle has experienced tremendous adoption by Econet subscribers, WhatsApp now accounts for more than 23% of network activity. Econet’s Unlimited WhatsApp bundle allows subscribers to share photos, videos, voice notes, locations, files and attachments on the popular real-time communications application, as often as they want for a fixed price per month, week or even per day.

Many subscribers are using first generation smartphones and Talk and Text plans. This bundle has opened up an opportunity for Econet to launch service plans that incentivize subscribers to move to data-driven services that are affordable to users and profitable to the network,” said Don Bowman, CTO, Sandvine.

Sandvine’s Global Internet Phenomena Report 1H2014 contains findings from fixed and mobile networks around the world, including:

On Demand Video

‚Ä¢ North American subscribers who exhibit “cord cutting” behavior (top 15th percentile of video users) are dominating network usage:

‚ó¶ Consuming on average 212GB a month, more than seven times the 29GB of a typical subscriber

‚ó¶ Viewing the equivalent of 100 hours of video each month

‚ó¶ Accounting for the majority (54%) of total monthly network traffic

• In United Kingdom and Ireland, Netflix is now the second largest source of traffic during the peak evening hours, accounting for over 17.8% of downstream fixed access traffic

‚Ä¢ The availability of high bitrate Super HD content to all Netflix subscribers in North America increased Netflix’s peak downstream traffic share from 31.6% to 34.2%. Amazon Instant Video continues to gain share, but still only accounts for 1.9% of downstream traffic


‚Ä¢ Snapchat generates more traffic than any other third-party messaging app on North American mobile networks, and on one network accounted for an astonishing 12% of total traffic on New Year’s Eve

• On an African mobile network where the majority of subscribers have talk and text plans, WhatsApp accounts for over 23% of traffic due to the introduction of a low-cost, unlimited access plan for the service that is designed to drive data adoption

• On several LTE networks in Asia, third-party messaging apps such as Line or WeChat are used by over 40% of mobile subscribers each hour

Live Streaming

• Twitch.TV, a live streaming service where video gamers watch each other play, has established itself among the top-15 applications on many fixed networks across the globe, and now generates more traffic than HBO GO on US networks

• During the World Cup, live streaming of matches is predicted to account for over 40% of network traffic on some Latin American mobile networks

While the app of choice varies drastically between continents and countries, this latest report makes it clear that mobile messaging matters,” said Mr. Caputo. “To remain competitive in the marketplace, mobile operators must be able to create and implement innovative service plans rapidly in order to meet the ever-changing demands of subscribers and combat declining SMS revenues.

* Follow Gadget on Twitter on @GadgetZA

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