Mobile Subscriber Data Usage Trends in the Middle East

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Latest Citrix Mobile Analytics Report Reveals Subscriber Preferences and the Impact of Video on Mobile Networks in the Middle East

Mobile Data Subscriber Behaviour. Source: Citrix Systems
Mobile Data Subscriber Behaviour. Source: Citrix Systems

Today, Citrix released the Citrix Mobile Analytics Report for the second half of 2014 providing insight into subscriber behavior and related factors that determine quality of experience (QoE) for mobile data services in the Middle East.

September 2014 Highlights


  • Social networking is the most popular activity over mobile networks but mobile video generates the largest portion of mobile data traffic at 50% of traffic volume
  • Forty percent of mobile subscribers access social networking sites, generating 10% of daily mobile data volume. The majority of mobile social networking data volume consists of images and videos, which generate 87% of that volume.
  • On a given day, 8% of subscribers download and update apps over the mobile network, generating 14% of daily mobile data volume
  • Accessing sports media outlet content over mobile typically drives only 0.5% of mobile data volume but during major sporting events such as the World Cup, traffic spikes significantly, negatively impacting subscriber quality of experience (QoE).
  • Video-watching subscribers using iOS-based devices generate proportionally more video data volume (38%) than do video-watching subscribers using Android-based devices (27.5%)
  • The average Internet Radio listener in North America “tunes in” for 16 minutes at a time
  • Video stalling continues to be present in all geographic regions on both 3G and LTE networks. Stalling duration ranges from 7 seconds to 38 seconds per minute of video
  • Mobile subscribers are 1.5x more likely to watch video over LTE networks than over 3G networks. The availability of LTE also drives greater consumption of long-form content such as that offered by Netflix.


Key findings from the report include:

Mobile Video on LTE Surpasses 3G
The latest report finds that mobile subscribers on LTE networks are 1.5 times more likely to watch video than subscribers on 3G networks. In the Middle East, Google video is the most popular video site by volume (51.27 percent), followed by Facebook with 16.05 percent and Youtube with 13.92 percent.

Subscribers Get Social with Mobile
Social networking is the most popular mobile application category, with 40 percent of mobile subscribers engaging daily. According to the report, 62 percent of social networking data can be attributed to video and 27.4 percent to images in the Middle East. The contribution of social networking video to total social networking mobile network data volume is much higher in the Middle East (62 percent) and North America (59 percent) than it is in Europe (39 percent) and Asia Pacific (35 percent).

You’ve Been Served: Mobile Ads
On a given day, half of mobile data subscribers are served ads over the mobile network and the mix of ad types is changing rapidly. The latest report finds that there has been a 20 percent increase in mobile video ads since the beginning of 2014, and data volume associated with ads are responsible for 2.2 percent of daily mobile network traffic volume on Android-based devices and 17 percent on IOS-based devices; almost unchanged figures from 2013. While the change lies in the number of ad banners served over mobile, Citrix found that one video ad was served for every 20 banner ads served over mobile. This year, the ratio has increased to one video ad for every 16 banner ads served.

“Providing network operators with insight into the types and volumes of content mobile subscribers are consuming helps them to identify trends in subscriber behavior and to adjust their networks accordingly,” said Johnny Karam, Regional Vice President, Middle East and Africa at Citrix. “The mobile data experience continues to be a key contributor to subscriber satisfaction or lack thereof. Knowledge about how the network is being used combined with the tools to enhance the mobile data experience are fundamental to establishing a differentiated data service.”

The findings in the Citrix Mobile Analytics Report were based on anonymously sourced data traffic statistics from the 3G and 4G networks of the Citrix global tier-one customer base.

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