YouTube accounts for 35% of worldwide mobile internet traffic, Sandvine says

In North America, YouTube accounts for 15.29% of mobile downlink traffic. (Unsplash)

Video has long been pegged as the biggest driver of global internet traffic, but in terms of mobile, one video service has risen high above the rest.

According to Sandvine’s new Mobile Phenomena report, YouTube accounts for 35% of all global mobile internet traffic. That puts the user-generated video platform far ahead of Netflix, which accounts for 15%.

“Netflix does appear in the top 10 in most regions, but is not the driver it is on fixed networks. Netflix is streamed at lower resolutions on mobile networks and is more efficient than other video streaming services,” wrote Sandvine in the report. “In general, Netflix’s long-form video is not something people do on mobile, as they use their peak hour binging on large screens. However, fixed mobile substitution service plan offerings, as we are likely to see with early 5G deployments, will have far more Netflix usage.”


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Sandvine broke out YouTube’s traffic figures on mobile across different geographical regions and found that the service led in terms of downlink traffic in North America, Europe, APAC, Latin America and the Middle East. In North America, Latin America and Europe, Instagram came in second. In APAC, Facebook’s video platform came in second. And in the Middle East, Snapchat came in second.

In terms of mobile uplink traffic, YouTube also managed to crack the top three in a few global regions. It was number one in APAC and number three in the Middle East. In Europe, Netflix came in third in terms of mobile downlink traffic.

RELATED: Cisco predicts video will account for 79% of global mobile data traffic by 2022

In North America, YouTube accounts for 15.29% of mobile downlink traffic, narrowly beating out Instagram, which had 14.47%. Other video platforms showing up in the top 10 for North American mobile downlink traffic include Facebook Video with 6.48% and Netflix with 5.63%.

The dominance of YouTube on mobile devices across the globe correlates with the newest internet traffic figures from Cisco. The company forecasts 79% of global mobile data traffic will be video by 2022. That’s up from 59% in 2017, or a ninefold increase. Mobile video will grow at a compound annual growth rate of 55% between 2017 and 2022, while overall average mobile traffic will increase at a CAGR of 46%.

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