Local telecom  experts on Saturday stressed the need for introducing higher Internet speeds in Jordan as a report by Cisco  Corp. showed that video usage will represent 72 per cent of mobile data traffic in Middle Eastern countries by 2017.
The experts said an increase in ownership of smartphones  in the Kingdom would trigger a boom in video consumption, a matter that calls for introducing Fourth Generation (4G) technology, which offers data transfer rates of up to 150 megabits per second (mbps).
“At present, it is early to introduce 4G. But after three years it will be essential to introduce this technology,” an expert at a telecom company, who asked not to be named, told The Jordan Times Saturday.
“We see demand on video rising in Jordan as is the case in other countries in the Middle East… Downloading and uploading videos is becoming more popular… Video calls are also becoming more popular; therefore, higher Internet speeds are necessary,” the expert said.
In the Middle East and Africa (MEA) region, mobile video traffic  will grow 27-fold between 2012 and 2017, according to the Cisco Visual Networking Index Global Mobile Data Traffic Forecast.
Video will constitute 72 per cent of mobile data traffic in 2017 in the MEA region, compared with 47 per cent at the end of 2012, according to the report, which was e-mailed to The Jordan Times.
Video accounted for half of MEA’s mobile data traffic by year-end 2012, it indicated.
Commenting on the study, Jawad Abbassi, founder and general manager of the Arab Advisers Group, noted that “Jordan  will follow suit in terms of video usage over the next few years.”
Abbassi said Third Generation technology, which is currently available in the Kingdom, was “good enough” to meet demand on video, but the introduction of 4G “would make it more compelling”.
Mohammad Monir Ghannam, CEO of DAMAMAX , an ICT infrastructure company, said the growing demand for videos calls for upgrading 3G service.
“It is important to upgrade current networks and infrastructure such as 3G, but wired Internet will continue to prevail as it provides fixed and reliable speeds,” Ghannam said.
By the end of September 2012, there were about 8.767 million mobile subscriptions in the country, with a 138 per cent mobile penetration rate. Of the total, about 50 per cent are smartphone holders, according to estimates by the Arab Advisers Group.
According to the Cisco report, there will be 849,226,090 mobile users in the MEA region in 2017.
“The expected steady increase in mobile traffic is partly due to continued strong growth in the number of mobile Internet connections,” the report said, adding that mobile penetration would exceed the world’s population by 2017.
According to the report, mobile data traffic will grow 17-fold from 2012 to 2017 in MEA countries, reaching 861,298 terabytes per month, which is equivalent to 215 million DVDs every month or 2.374 million text messages per second.
By 2017, there will be more than 10 billion mobile devices connected to the Internet, while average global mobile network speeds will increase seven-fold from 0.5mbps (2012) to 3.9mbps (2017), the Cisco report said.
By 2017, mobile video will represent 66 per cent of global mobile data traffic , which “will continue its truly remarkable growth, increasing 13-fold over the next five years, to reach an amount more than 46 times the total amount of mobile Internet protocol traffic just a few years ago in 2010,” Ashraf Arafeh, general manager of Cisco Jordan, said in the statement.
Projected mobile traffic:
In the Middle East and Africa (MEA), mobile video traffic will grow 27-fold from 2012 to 2017, a compound annual growth rate of 93 per cent.
Video will constitute 72 per cent of mobile data traffic in MEA in 2017, compared with 47 per cent by the end of 2012.
In MEA , mobile data traffic will grow 17-fold between 2012 and 2017.
Mobile data traffic will reach 861,298 terabytes per month in 2017, the equivalent of 215 million DVDs every month or 2.374 million text messages per second.
Mobile video will represent 66 per cent of global mobile data traffic by 2017 (up from 51 per cent in 2012).