New data from Sandvine’s 2023 Global Internet Phenomena Report shows that internet traffic continued to grow at a breakneck pace in 2022, with total traffic up 23 per cent and video traffic growing slightly faster at 24 per cent. The growth reflected surging streaming video usage and continued growth in traffic across app categories, including gaming, cloud, VPNs, marketplaces, and conferencing. Overall video accounted for 65 per cent of all traffic.
The data, which is based on actual usage data from more than 177 service providers worldwide, also found that the “Big 6” (Facebook, Amazon, Google, Apple, Netflix, and Microsoft) still generate almost half of all internet traffic, with Google and Netflix responsible for the largest volumes. This year for the first time, Netflix’s app surpassed the YouTube app in traffic.
“Following the historic Covid-driven internet traffic surges of 2020 and 2021, the ‘new normal’ in application usage and volumes seems to be here to stay,” said Sandvine chief solutions officer Samir Marwaha. “The rapid acceleration of digitisation led to an enhanced reliance on applications and a rapid evolution toward more sophisticated apps that fuse together multiple functions and features.”
For the first time, Netflix replaced YouTube as the individual app generating the most traffic, with TikTok, Disney Plus, and Hulu among the top 10 generating the most traffic volume.
“Video is almost to the point where it can no longer be considered a standalone category, as it’s now integral to conferencing, gaming, social networking, messaging, and virtually all apps that want to drive interactions and engagement,” added Marwaha.
Sandvine also reported that to keep up with these unprecedented demands, telcos have expedited network upgrades and buildouts. But the onslaught of video, compounded by a growing number of applications with greater demands for latency, bandwidth and throughput, is exerting extraordinary pressure on global networks.
“As different OTT platforms expand their services and raise expectations, they can simply raise prices to fund service improvements, but the telcos that build and maintain the networks on top of which these services ride cannot do the same. It’s to be expected that operators would seek regulatory relief, and the data in this report illustrates why,” said Sandvine CTO Alexander Haväng.
The growing usage, volumes, and complexity, all on top of ever-increasing customer expectations and rigid regulatory structures, have led the telecom industry to a crossroads, the study found.
The full Sandvine’ 2023 Global Internet Phenomena Report can be downloaded here.