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Social networking and tablets key web traffic drivers

Ross O. Storey | April 6, 2011
An Ovum – Telecom Asia survey finds tablets will have greater impact than laptops.

SINGAPORE, 6 APRIL 2011 - Social networking, video and browsing will be the major drivers of web traffic this year, according to a new study by research house Ovum, conducted jointly wth Telecom Asia.

Social networking was included in Ovum’s latest Mobile Broadband Industry Survey for the first time this year, and was marginally ahead of mobile video as the likely leading driver of traffic growth.

The study has also found  that tablet computers are expected to be a key driver of traffic, ahead of netbooks and laptops and Ovum concludes that tablets and social networking services are key revenue growth opportunities for operators in the Asia-Pacific.

The Telecom Asia–Ovum online survey was conducted in December 2010 and January 2011 and had responses from 178 telecoms executives from more than 20 countries across Asia-Pacific.

Tablet impact

According to respondents, social networking (31 per cent), video (30 per cent), and browsing (17 per cent) will be the applications that drive the majority of traffic growth in 2011.

In a statement, Ovum said that: “Almost 50 per cent of respondents said that handsets would be the major driver of mobile broadband traffic, while about 25 per cent said that tablets would be the main driver of traffic. This is a significant result for tablets as this is the first time that they have been included in the survey.”

In last year’s survey, the netbooks/laptops category was expected to be the primary driver of  mobile broadband growth. However, in this year’s survey the category fell to third place.

“Operators view tablets as a more natural fit than laptops or netbooks as they have the same lifecycle, operating system and data model as smartphones,” said Nicole McCormick, Senior Analyst at Ovum.

The study found that the threat from over-the-top (OTT) players, such as Google and Apple, was considered to be a “very significant” or “moderate” threat by over 80 per cent respondents.  About 25 per cent believed that OTT players pose a “very significant” threat to mobile operators.

Partnering strategy

Partnering with content providers was deemed the best way to counter the threat from OTT players by 69 per cent of respondents, with coverage and quality of service (QoS) also considered to be important. 

“Common sense has prevailed,” said McCormick. “Rather than take on the OTT players head-on, it makes more sense for operators to partner with them across as many areas of the ecosystem as they possibly can.”

 

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