Killer App for LTE Might be Entertainment Video

What is the “killer app” for fourth generation Long Term Evolution networks, if in fact there is such a killer app? The easy answer is to reiterate that there is no killer app for 4G or 3G, only many apps and services that contribute to the total value, and of course, faster speeds.

That answer, even if arguably correct, is not granular enough to be of any value to practitioners and companies in the ecosystem. If faster speed alone were the key driver, and if retail pricing and packaging allowed mobile to become a viable substitute for fixed network access, a variety of revenue opportunities based on “substitution” would immediately become relevant.

If mobile video, specifically, were to become a lead app, that would imply there is a new opportunity for mobile streaming services. The same is true if LTE creates a better mobile gaming experience (latency performance, not just speed).

Other opportunities arise if cloud-based apps, in general, are widely accessible on mobile devices.

But it always has seemed as if entertainment video was likely to be the key application that distinguishes 4G from 3G. A study by  the Office of Communications, the U.K. communications regulator, suggests that, in most countries, 4G Long Term Evolution networks lead to more video streaming, compared to all other mobile networks.  

More video consumption also was among the predicted value of 4G networks, according to the conclusions reached by a study prepared for the Ofcom.

Among U.S. internet users polled, 50 percent of respondents who used 4G streamed or downloaded mobile video, according to a study by eMarketer.

About 32 percent of non-4G users reported they downloaded or streamed video. And new smartphone users on 4G networks say video is among the new apps they use most.

When a July 2014 Deloitte study asked subscribers in the US about which activities they conducted more often on their mobile networks since signing up for 4G, 33 percent said they watched more video.

Another example is skyrocketing video on Facebook, an app used exclusively on a mobile phone by about 30 percent of Facebook users. About 78 percent of Facebook users use the app on their mobile devices at least some of the time.  
So a shift towards visual content on Facebook, especially video, automatically means more usage on mobile networks.  

In one year, the number of Facebook video posts per person has increased 75 percent globally and 94 percent in the United States.

Globally, the amount of video from people and brands in News Feed has increased 3.6 times year-over-year.

Since June 2014, Facebook has averaged more than one billion video views every day, the company says.  

On average, more than 50 percent of people visiting Facebook in the United States every day  watch at least one video daily and 76 percent of people in the United States who use Facebook also say they tend to discover the videos they watch on Facebook.

A Sandvine report shows that Facebook now accounts for 19.43 percent of all smartphone data consumed in North America.

Facebook leads in “upstream” data, accounting for 22.4 percent of that traffic, and is behind only YouTube in “downstream” data.

YouTube accounts for 19.8 percent of that traffic, compared to Facebook’s 19 percent.

But Facebook has 19.4 percent share of aggregate of upstream and downstream data, exceeding YouTube’s 18 percent share.

Facebook-owned Instagram also accounts for an additional 2.6 percent of upstream data, 4.5 percent of downstream data, and 4.3 percent of total smartphone data consumption.
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