Meta and Vodafone collaborate to boost short-form video quality across Europe

Because we just can't get enough of reels

Meta and Vodafone collaborate to boost short-form video quality across Europe

In a collab between big tech and telcos, Meta and Vodafone today announced the roll-out of network optimisation across 11 different markets in Europe to free up capacity and boost video quality. 

It is no secret that video content has exploded on the internet over the past couple of years. And it’s not just your ice-bathing guys or gals pushing the latest longevity schtick on YouTube, or Lady Gaga doing the “Wednesday dance.” 

Everyone from LinkedIn “thought leaders” to grandmothers dishing out life and baking advice are posting TikToks, reels, stories, and all the other kinds of short video snippets on a daily basis. And people are consuming them like never before.

So much in fact, that Meta, the owner of Instagram, has had to work with Vodafone to optimise short-form videos to free up capacity on 11 of the telco’s European markets to keep up with our insatiable appetite for (smooth) online video content. 

According to data from Statista, the number of digital video viewers globally in 2023 was just under 3.5 billion. That is up from about 2.7 billion in 2019. Over 2023, there was a 24% increase in overall video traffic, with video accounting for 73% of all mobile traffic by the end of the year.

This increase places a huge toll on mobile networks, and operators have been increasingly vocal about having to foot the bill for the cost of upgrades, while the tech companies behind the social media apps reel in the profits. 

“Meta’s willingness to optimise the delivery of video for its applications leads the way for a more efficient use of existing network resources,” Alberto Ripepi, Vodafone’s chief network officer, told Reuters.

Vodafone and Meta say they first ran a three-week test trial in the UK in April this year, before beginning to roll out the optimisation across 10 more networks at the start of June. These are Albania, Czechia, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, the Netherlands, Portugal, Romania, and Spain. 

“Our relationship with Vodafone is a long-term partnership, and collaboration on video optimisation is an opportunity to drive innovation and shape the future of the internet,” said Gaya Nagarajan, vice-president of network engineering at Meta. “We are committed to continuing our collaboration with innovative partners like Vodafone, device manufacturers, equipment vendors and the wider digital ecosystem, to push the boundaries of video optimisation.”

For its part, Vodafone was also keen to state that it “freed up additional network resources on some of its most popular 4G/5G sites so that all mobile customers at these busy locations, such as shopping centres and transport hubs, benefitted.”

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