mobile videoThe high-definition HD share of mobile video traffic is now 38% globally – a far higher percentage than mobile operators had predicted a few years ago, according to new research from OpenWave Mobility.

HD video was only 5.7 percent of mobile video traffic four years ago, but now is expected to be at least half of video traffic by the end of 2018, said OpenWave Mobility in a press release announcing the findings of its research. Today over 820 million people across the world watch YouTube and Netflix on mobile devices, researchers said.

HD Share of Mobile Video Traffic
Openwave Mobility’s research is based on analysis of data aggregated from the company’s live deployments with more than 30 mobile operators around the globe from 2013 to 2017. The findings are available from Openwave Mobility’s Mobile Video Index report which looked at the impact of mobile video, Quality of Experience (QoE), and OTT encryption.

The report found that three quarters of all mobile traffic is now encrypted, preventing operators from being able to profile or optimize data using conventional traffic management tools.

HD Share of Mobile Video Traffic

Mobile Video Trends (Source: Openwave Mobility)

UDP-based encryption has also grown faster than predicted, according to the research. Google’s QUIC protocol threatens to outpace anything the industry has seen so far. QUIC has had a compound annual growth rate of 284 percent in the two years since its debut. Openwave Mobility predicts that by November 2018, approximately 90 percent of all mobile internet traffic will be encrypted.

“OTTs have launched a land grab. In 3 years OTTs wiped out voice revenues,” Openwave Mobility John Giere CEO said in a prepared statement. “In 2.5 years they wiped out messaging revenues. Is mobile data next? You bet. Along with encryption obscuring mobile networks, operators have to grapple with the unstoppable appetite for HD video content from OTT players.”

Giere added: “As users get accustomed to HD quality at home, they expect the same QofE on mobile. Facing an onslaught from OTT encrypted traffic, the challenge for operators is: How can you manage what you can’t see?”

Image courtesy of flickr user Kirill Kniazev.