Verizon CEO: Streaming video accounts for 50% of their wireless traffic

Verizon CEO: Streaming video accounts for 50% of their wireless traffic

Summary: Networks are getting faster and reaching further, smartphone displays are growing in size, and more people are using tablets. These factors lead to more media consumption, and Verizon reported that they are seeing traffic related to video increase dramatically.

Verizon CEO McAdam: Streaming video accounts for 50% of their wireless traffic
(Image: Apple)

The National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) conference is being held in Las Vegas, Nevada this week, and Fierce Wireless has reported that Verizon CEO Lowell McAdam stated that 50 percent of their wireless traffic is for video consumption. He expects this to grow to 66 percent by 2017. As data speeds increases and coverage expands, we expected consumers to use data for more, but I am a bit surprised by how much people are using cellular data for video.

I use my mobile phones daily on my train commute, but have only watched a couple TV shows over the years via cellular connections on my smartphone. Then again, I did use my Verizon iPad in 2012 to watch several March Madness basketball games, and the experience was awesome.

Verizon's LTE is the most mature of US carriers and has the widest coverage so far. I saw two people just yesterday streaming YouTube videos on their smartphones during my commute, and understand this is happening as the networks speed up and phones have bigger and better displays. I am sure Verizon doesn't mind too much, as there are now data caps so people either have to limit their video consumption or jump up to the next level.

I recently wrote about my wonderful T-Mobile experiences, and now that everyone in my family has data, it has been interesting watching their consumption. My youngest daughter did not have wi-fi enabled on her Galaxy Nexus, and burned through her 500 MB data allotment in one evening after streaming a couple of TV shows via Netflix. Video will consume data quite fast, and when you have fast networks, you may not even think twice about it.

Mr McAdam also stated that he had had a meeting with Apple CEO Steve Jobs, and implied that he convinced Jobs to add LTE to the iPhone. I'm sure Apple had LTE in mind when they released the 4S, but the processor and networks were not fully ready to support the technology.

Do you watch video on your smartphone via a cellular network?

Topics: Mobility, Smartphones, Verizon

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  • As opposed to....

    Texting and web browsing?
    • Photos, social, app downloads, etc.

      Good question that he didn't specifically detail. The other 50% must be for email, photo upload/download, social networking, application downloads (often a big part of my monthly consumption), and some gaming.
      palmsolo (aka Matthew Miller)
  • I don't, but my son does

    I'm not a big video viewer. I don't watch a lot of TV aside from sports, and with DVR, I have what I need. My eldest son watches YouTube and Netflix a lot though. Last month, during the period of that internet-wide DDoS attack, before we knew what was going on, he thought the WiFi at home was having problems, so he turned it off and started watching via his cellular connection. He's still on a grandfathered "double your data" 4GB Verizon plan, but burned through most of it in two nights. Thank goodness for alerts!

    Verizon must love this. I don't care what they say, they aren't at all upset that video consumes so much data. It's even worse on 4G (I usually switch my tablet to 3G when I let my little one watch a Netflix video in the car on it). They are happily just waiting for the general public to start busting through their data caps and either increasing their allotment or paying penalties.