The global market for mobile video calling will grow to 134.6 million people worldwide by 2016, according to an August 2011 white paper from Juniper Research. As detailed in “mVoice, mVideo, mVoIP,” Juniper anticipates developed markets will see mobile video calling penetration rates roughly double those of developing markets.
Specifically, the Far East & China will represent the largest share of total mobile video calling use, followed by North America and Western Europe. The Indian subcontinent and Africa/Middle East will then follow with roughly equal market share. The rest of Asia-Pacific, Eastern Europe and Latin America will have the smallest market shares.
Mobile Video Calling Faces Challenges
Juniper says video calling uses roughly 25 times the capacity required for a voice call, with latency and delay posing especially large problems. Thus mobile video calling faces three key challenges: requirement for high bandwidth and data speeds, lack of business model, and lack of standardized technological approach.
In terms of lack of business model, Juniper says the offering of free mobile video services from several providers inherently limits revenue potential. However, Juniper advises value-added services and advertising can generate some revenue.
In terms of technological approach, Juniper advises that several factors beyond the control of mobile video providers affect the overall quality of the service. These include quality of the 3G network, handset choice, and software and hardware elements such as operating system and type of camera.
Circuit-Switched Voice will Migrate to 3G and 4G
In the white paper, Juniper also predicts that legacy circuit-switched mobile voice calls will migrate to 3G- and 4G-based mobile Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) networks. Mobile VoIP is essentially the transfer of a VoIP infrastructure to the mobile environment.
The most common method of implementation turns the mobile device into a Session Initiation Protocol (SIP) client, which then uses a data network to send and receive voice calls. Calls originating from the handset connect to the operator’s network via an IP interface; the call is then routed as packets across the internet and terminated on a device at the destination of the call.
Although Juniper predicts 3G and 4G networks will ultimately carry most mVoIP calls, the white paper does mention LTE, WiMAX and WiFi networks can also carry mVoIP calls. In addition, Juniper says even where mVoIP is carried on 3G it still may be terminated on a WiFi network, and some calls will still terminate on circuit-switched networks.
CTAM: Free/Low Cost Critical to Mobile Video Apps
When asked to rank the importance of various attributes of mobile video apps, a leading 63% of consumers rated free or low subscription rates as very important, according to a study released in August 2011 by the Cable & Telecommunications Association for Marketing (CTAM) and The Nielsen Company. Another 23% rated free/low subscription rates as somewhat important, meaning a combined 86% of consumers find cost important.
In fact, as long as consumers can get the video app for free or at a low cost, more than half (56%) of respondents said they don’t mind mobile advertisements on video apps, especially if it allows them to access content for free.