Majority of 5G Traffic Will Be Video

27 February 2019

5G video

If the amount of video we all watch on various mobile devices seems like a lot today, we haven’t seen anything yet. When 5G networks arrive, video traffic is expected to take over the airwaves.

According to research from mobile data traffic management specialist Openwave Mobility, high-resolution video traffic volumes are expected to grow exponentially with 5G. The company also hosts the Mobile Video Industry Council, whose members include BT, EE, Vodafone Deutsche Telekom, Orange and Telefonica. The operators forecast that 90% of 5G traffic will be video.

The surge in 5G video traffic will be fuelled by momentum underway on today’s networks. Over the last five years, video on mobile networks increased 50%-60% on average year-on-year, according to Openwave’s latest Mobile Video Index report. In some developing markets, the rate of video growth is twice as fast as the global average.

5G networks are expected to deliver data rates of at least 1Gbps, and even up to 10Gbps. Along with that, network latency will also be reduced. Depending on how operators opt to deploy their 5G networks, these capabilities will be fertile ground for supporting new video services, such as augmented reality and virtual reality, with better service quality than on today’s networks. 

Indeed, many of the early use case trials and testbeds in the UK are focused on developing new video applications, whether it is for AR and VR tourist attractions, delivering high-resolution video streaming for emergency services or creating new sports viewing experiences.

Openwave’s Mobile Video Index notes that while 5G creates potential for new mobile video services, mobile operators won’t be the only players eyeing the market opportunity. Operators will need to think about how they will differentiate their 5G video services.

Matt Halligan, CTO and Head of Engineering at Openwave Mobility, said: “5G will open the door to even more competition – from new categories of players – and the promise of low latency means AR and VR services will be high on the menu for subscribers. [Quality of Experience] is already hard to manage, and immersive video services are 33x more data intensive than 480p video. So, unless operators have a robust strategy to differentiate their service, they could be sleepwalking into a 5G nightmare.”

Michelle Donegan is a tech writer who has covered the communications industry for more than 25 years on both sides of the pond. Having worked for various industry titles, including Communications Week International, Total Telecom and Light Reading, she specializes in mobile network technology trends. 

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