To appreciate just how big Facebook has grown and continues to grow, you need to turn to big data such as the ones held by Sandvine. A company voted in “2007 as the World’s Top Intelligent Community for prosperity rooted in broadband and information technology.”
Sandvine reveals that in North America the lion share of mobile Internet traffic goes to YouTube (20%) and Facebook (16%). You should take into account that in North America the telecommunication infrastructure is well developed, widespread and affordable to the general public. So using apps like YouTube that hogs data is something that is quite common. You should also note that high-end smartphones are also a common thing in this market.
Facebook has also launched its video streaming service that is already giving YouTube a good run for its money. Other than that, Facebook has now become a primary part of people’s lives in North America.
When you come to Africa, the situation is entirely different in as far as having a well-established and widespread installation of telecommunication infrastructure goes. However, still when you look at the mobile traffic usage, the instant messaging app WhatsApp takes the lion’s share. Don’t forget that WhatsApp was recently acquired by Facebook at a price tag of $22 billion last year.
WhatsApp might not be as popular in North America as it is in Africa, but Sandvine says it accounts for about 11% of all mobile traffic across the vast African continent. It is increasingly becoming popular because it enables people to exchange texts, pictures, videos and lately make voice calls without paying exorbitant fees to the carriers.
Dan Deeth, an author to a new report by Sandvine, say that WhatsApp is the cause of high mobile data traffic as more people switch from just sending text to making voice calls and trading photos and videos.
As cited by Wired, Deeth says, “It’s a mix. The texting is the smallest part. Once you get into photos and sending videos to each other and sending videos to each other and voice calling, that’s when traffic really starts to creep up.”
When you think about it, the Internet is evolving in Africa differently than it is developing in North America. In the U.S. you find high-end smartphone and well-established networks and in Africa not only is the reverse true but also people have less disposable income to afford them the luxury of using high-bandwidth apps like YouTube. Thus, WhatsApp remains as their primary gateway to matters Internet.
Stats also reveal that in Africa, web browsing accounts for just 22% of mobile traffic while WhatsApp accounts for twice that amount. Not even Facebook itself comes close to WhatsApp. So it makes perfect sense why Facebook had to acquire WhatsApp, given it is giving the social network a foothold on the African continent. That also means that Facebook is positioned to grab new Internet users and have an enormous influence on how they use the Internet.
When the telecommunication industry and infrastructure across the African continent become mature, Facebook can readily deploy its new services to the masses. Already Facebook had deployed the voice calling feature through WhatsApp; something that resembles what Skype already has in North America. The next step would be to deploy video calling, and it will have a bigger head start compared to its competitors in that space. Take, for instance, Skype tries to penetrate the maturing African market when Facebook’s WhatsApp use is more widespread and equipped with better voice and video calling feature.
The next world market to look at is the Middle East. Sandvine says that although WhatsApp accounts for just 3% of the mobile traffic, Facebook make up 11%, and Instagram tops 10% of the mobile traffic. Not forgetting that Facebook also owns Instagram, when combined, Zuckerberg and company command nearly a quarter of the mobile traffic in the Middle East.
All factors considered it would be fair to say that Facebook is poised to dominate the world with the help of WhatsApp and Instagram.
Source >> Wired