From October 2011 to May 2012, monthly median (half use more, half use less) mobile usage has increased more than eight fold from 3.1 MBytes to 25.5 MBytes for each user, while monthly mean (“average”) usage has declined slightly from 346.9 MBytes to 312.8 MBytes.

This dramatic increase in median is caused by the increased number of smart phones on the network, Sandvine says. These users would typically be newer smartphone owners who are still learning how to use their devices, placing their usage above the 50th percentile, but below the power-users who are making the most of their smart phones’ capabilities.

With more smartphones in use, in just six months, Sandvine notes, use of real-time entertainment jumped from 30.8 percent of peak traffic (upstream and downstream combined) to 50.2 percent, Sandvine says.

YouTube accounts for more than half, and represents 27.2 percent of peak downstream traffic, but real-Ttme entertainment’s growth isn’t limited to only video, Sandvine says.

Streaming audio, in particular driven by the popularity of Pandora Radio, has seen
significant growth in just the past six months. Pandora Radio is the fifth-largest downstream application and accounts for 5.4 percent of peak traffic, and streaming through services including Spotify and Rdio, and specialized apps like TuneIn Radio is also on the rise.

While Facebook is still among the top three applications on the mobile network, the service and the social networking category as a whole have seen their traffic share almost cut in half.

This drop is not due to declining usage, but simply the fact that video consumes so much more bandwidth.

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