YouTube alone accounts for 24% of mobile broadband traffic.
New research has shown that mobile broadband traffic has grown by 83% in just six months, driven by increased video streaming on laptops, tablets and smartphones.
According to the latest Allot MobileTrends Report, an annual study of global data consumption, mobile internet usage jumped by more than 200% in 2011. Video streaming dominates the space, taking a 42% share of total bandwidth worldwide.
The video sharing website YouTube now accounts for 24% of all mobile broadband traffic, with 14% of YouTube streaming now in high-definition, using even more data than standard quality video.
Mobile broadband users typically have a set download limit, which if exceeded can result in extra charges or restricted internet access. As data consumption grows, it is increasingly important that customers ensure they subscribe to a suitable package.
The fastest growing mobile broadband activities were found to be internet voice calling (VoIP), such as Skype, and instant messaging (IM), which together increased by 114% in the second half of the year.
Andrei Elefant, vice-president of marketing and product management at Allot Communications, which compiled the report, said: "The phenomenal growth of VoIP and IM represents both a challenge and an opportunity [for mobile broadband providers].
"Intelligent, application-based data pricing is the way forward for operators, allowing them to maximise data revenues based on its true value to subscribers."
The data shows that voice calling service Skype accounts for 79% of global mobile VoIP bandwidth, while instant messenger WhatsApp takes an 18% share of total IM traffic, second only to Facebook messaging at 22%.