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November 28, 2012

Study Finds Image Sharing Surpasses Video Sharing on Mobile Networks

By Tracey E. Schelmetic, TMCnet Contributor

What’s the fastest growing traffic on the mobile Internet? Video, you might think. Gaming might be another guess. In reality, it’s something a bit more low-tech: still images.

Thanks to mobile social networks such as Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest and Facebook (News - Alert), people are all about sharing images today. These four social networks are largely responsible for a boost in sharing images, and this has greatly contributed to the traffic surge on mobile networks, according to Israeli company Flash Network, which provides intelligent mobile networks. The company’s data revealed that Instagram’s version upgrade in September of this year was solely responsible for increasing image traffic by 20 percent for operators in the Americas and Europe.

Image via

The growth in image traffic has surpassed that of video in markets with a high level of smartphone penetration. Image traffic grew 33 percent compared to a five percent growth in video traffic in the Americas and Europe for the last six months. Where smartphone penetration is lower, primarily in Asia, video traffic is still growing faster than image traffic, according to Flash Network.

Flash Networks (News - Alert) has collected this data over the last six months from several tier one operator networks located in Europe, Asia and the Americas, collectively servicing over 200 million subscribers. Approximately 85 percent of the overall traffic was running on smartphones in saturated markets.

"With all the recent noise around video traffic, operators need to ensure they are also prepared for the huge increase in images on mobile networks," said Merav Bahat, VP of Marketing and Business Development at Flash Networks, in a statement. "Fortunately optimization techniques can result in a significant data reduction without sacrificing image quality, enabling operators to cope with this latest burst in mobile data."

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Edited by Brooke Neuman
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