Video and audio streaming make up more than half of mobile data traffic in North America. It’s no surprise that much of this traffic involves YouTube, but it’s interesting that Pandora and Netflix are the next most popular services.

Broadband network solutions company Sandvine determined this and a lot of other information by analyzing data from a selection of its more than 200 customers throughout the world.

YouTube is the largest source of mobile video traffic everywhere, according to Sandvine, accounting for no less than 12 percent and as much as 25 percent in every region it looked at.

Sandvine also found that instant messaging applications like market leader WhatsApp are growing in popularity, eating in to SMS revenue as they do so. According to the report, an average of 7.6 million WhatsApp messages were sent per day on one particular Asian mobile network serving a million subscribers. WhatsApp uses a device’s data plan rather than its SMS allotment, therefore incurring no extra cost within the user’s threshold, and can be used across iPhone, BlackBerry, Android, Windows Phone, and Nokia Symbian S60 and S40 phones.

Looking forward, Sandvine forcasts video and audio streaming will exceed 60 percent of North America’s mobile data by late 2014. It also expects click-to-cloud smartphone photo back-up and synchronization will emerge as a significant source of traffic worldwide as the cloud takes over online connectivity.

“Region by region, network by network and device by device, the need for video quality metrics is consistent across the board,” said Dave Caputo, Sandvine co-founder, president and CEO. “As mobile broadband adoption grows and the latest tablets and devices enable more applications, operators worldwide are adding an intelligence layer across their networks. This intelligence extends beyond byte-counting and delivers metrics that matter, such event-based, time-based and quality-based measurements and forecasts.”

Related links:

Sandvine – official site

Sandvine – media summary

Photo by Flickr user JD Hancock, used under Creative Commons license

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