According to a new report from network management and video optimization firm Bytemobile, mobile video now accounts for between 40% to 60% of the total mobile data traffic on operators' networks. Half of the video consumed comes from laptop computers, iPhones, iPads and Android devices, the company found.

But here's an interesting side note to that data: When broken down by device, iPhone users see more video data traffic than those on Android, or even on laptops.

iPhone Users See Highest Video Data Consumption

Because of the capabilities of today's smartphones, the video consumption behavior on these devices now mimics that of laptop computers, says Bytemobile. On the networks analyzed, video accounted for 52% of the data consumed on laptop and Android devices, but it was even higher on iPhones (58%).


This doesn't mean that an iPhone user watches more videos, necessarily.

As Bytemobile's Anna Yong, Mobile Analytics Manager, explains, "the volume by video data generated (bytes) is a function of both number of videos being watched, the quality of the video being watched (higher quality video generates more bytes) and the length of video. (1 video could be 1 minute long and low resolution, and another video could be 5 minutes long, and high resolution and thus generate very different data volumes.)"

That means there's not a direct correlation between number of videos and data volume, she says.

However, it does seem to speak to at least a slight difference between the way people are using these devices, we think.

High-Res Videos Eat Up Data

Speaking of high-resolution videos, although only requested by 29% of users, they account for a disproportionately high percentage of the data volume: 45% of the total, as you can see in the chart below.

YouTube Video Consumption Trends

Traffic from YouTube, as the source of many of these videos, was examined closely. When users watch YouTube via the browser, they're served more higher resolution videos than through the app, regardless of the network or device type. iPad users, however, while still tending to use the YouTube app (73%) more than the browser (27%), use the app less frequently than iPhone users.

This data comes from Bytemobile's Smart Capacity Mobile Analytics platform, which is deployed with over 125 operators in 60 countries, including AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, Vodafone, Orange, China Mobile, China Telecom, Telefonica, Telecom Italia Mobile, Bharti Airtel and others. The data traffic is measured anonymously using a cross-section of Bytemobile customers' wireless networks.