Meta, the company behind Instagram, has collaborated with Vodafone to enhance the efficiency of short-form video delivery on 11 of Vodafone's European mobile networks, thereby increasing capacity without significantly affecting the user experience.

The surge in video consumption on platforms like Instagram, TikTok, and YouTube is causing a continuous rise in mobile data usage. According to Ericsson's 2024 Mobility Report, global mobile traffic increased by 25% in the year leading up to the first quarter of 2024, with video constituting 73% of all mobile traffic by the end of 2023.

Telecom operators such as Vodafone have expressed dissatisfaction with bearing the costs of network upgrades while large tech companies, who benefit the most, do not contribute financially. An EU initiative to compel Big Tech to fund 5G investments was halted last year and shows no signs of revival in the near future.

Vodafone views its partnership with Meta as a practical solution to the issue of equitable contribution. Alberto Ripepi, Vodafone's chief network officer, praised Meta's initiative in optimizing video delivery, which he believes sets a precedent for more effective use of network resources. Both companies have applied these optimizations across Vodafone's European operations and plan to further their collaboration to achieve additional efficiencies.

During a trial in April, these optimizations led to a moderate reduction in Meta's data traffic on Vodafone's UK network, particularly in high-traffic areas such as shopping centers and transport hubs. Gaya Nagarajan, Meta's vice president of network engineering, emphasized the company's commitment to collaborating with innovative partners like Vodafone, device manufacturers, and equipment vendors to advance video optimization.

Additionally, Spain's Telefonica announced last week that it is also working with Meta to optimize video traffic delivery on its networks.