A new research report from cloud computing company Citrix compares and analyzes consumer perceptions of their mobile services usage with their actual behavior. “The data points to a contrast between what mobile device owners think they know about their devices and plans, and what the reality is when consuming content,” said Citrix in a press release.

Released February 13, the “Citrix ByteMobile Mobile Analytics Report for 1Q 2013,” “provides insights into subscriber behavior and related factors that determine quality of experience (QoE) for mobile data services today,” Citrix explains.

Key takeaways from the report include:

  • Health apps and games dominate mobile traffic
    • People are increasingly using mobile devices to support health goals and track their fitness progress. Personal fitness applications dominate the category, generating 50 percent of the total mobile health related data traffic on wireless networks.
    • Additionally, 39 percent of subscribers use a fitness-specific application, while 47 percent use a pregnancy-related application. Interestingly, pregnancy monitoring applications generate nine percent of the total mobile health related data traffic on wireless networks.
    •  Mobile gaming continues to be popular among subscribers. The report found that the three most popular games played while connected to a wireless network are Words with Friends, Temple Run and Angry Birds.
  • Video remains king of mobile traffic
    •  The Mobile Analytics Report reveals that 20 percent of subscribers watch mobile videos on a given day, with 74 percent of consumer survey respondents seeking out most of the videos they watch.
    •  Of the videos consumed on mobile devices, 92 percent are low-resolution video at 360p or less. However, a majority of survey respondents (64 percent) said they thought they were viewing high-resolution video. This indicates a clear disconnect in the quality of video subscribers think they are consuming versus the reality.
    •  Two out of 10 mobile subscribers watched video on mobile devices, generating more than 50 percent of the total mobile data traffic on wireless networks. Today, mobile video subscribers watch an average of two minutes of video content at a time, doubling the time spent consuming video as reported in the February 2010 Mobile Analytics Report.
  •  The need for speed
    • In addition to video, mobile Web usage also consumes a large amount of mobile data traffic, and the consumer survey shows that people require speedy download times or they will abandon the effort.
    • Nearly a third of survey respondents give up in eight seconds or less, pointing to the need for more mobile Web pages to download at this speed.
    • While approximately 50 percent of mobile Web pages download in eight seconds or less across wireless networks, 20 percent of pages requested take longer than 20 seconds to download. When it comes to a poor mobile Web experience, more than half (51 percent) of mobile device owners blame their provider, while 49 percent blame the website.
    • The Mobile Analytics Report confirms that wireless networks across North America deliver the fastest Web page download times in the world.
  • Advertising consumes subscriber data allowances
    • Mobile advertisements containing video content generate 10 times more data per advertisement than those without video.
    • The top four advertising networks, both by subscriber reach and total data volume generated, are owned by Google – Double Click, Google, Admob and 2mdn.
    • For smartphone subscribers, mobile advertisements consume one percent of the total monthly data traffic generated. While minimal, this percentage is expected to increase as mobile advertising continues to grow.

“These findings are unique in comparing actual subscriber behaviors on wireless networks with what people think their usage patterns are like,” commented Chris Koopmans, Citrix vice president and general manager of Service Provider Platforms.

“Combining the ByteMobile report with the consumer survey provides additional insight into subscribers’ views of their mobile experiences and the impact this behavior has on operators’ networks. This real-world data is further validation that network providers need to improve their subscribers’ mobile experience in order to differentiate their services and better monetize an increasing volume of traffic.”