VoLTE doesn’t just mean Voice over LTE. It also means Video over LTE. IMS/LTE includes support for IR.94 which describes how to make conversational video calls over LTE. Video has been possible over 3G networks. However, monetization of video calls has proven elusive and companies that catered to 3G video calls have come and gone. It doesn’t mean that video calls don’t happen since at one time Skype reported that more than 40 percent of its calls were video calls. But these are landline calls and it’s not like people are paying for them. I’m just saying that monetization has proven elusive.
This is a sliver of hope though. Cisco’s June 2014 report, “Zettabyte Era: Trends and Analysis” however, says that “mobile video” has promise. It also had a great compound annual growth rate (CAGR), albeit from a small number. Mobile video is defined in that report as 2G, 3G or 4G calls. We must assume the bulk of this is over 4G/LTE. So it’s starting to happen.
Enter the iPhone into this picture. The iPhone has revolutionized communications before as we all know. But just because the iPhone 6 supports VoLTE, and therefore, mobile video doesn’t mean the “telco” industry will finally monetize mobile video. Remember that Wi-Fi still exits, Apple still supports Facetime, Skype still exists and people will use their mobile devices to talk and video call each other over Wi-Fi. If people use their iPhone6, or smartphones for that matter, just to make a video call, I don’t think that will mean instant monetization.
Ultimately, value-added services will need to be a key part of the equation. Video mail, Video conference calling, and adding in video pictures to texting for instance will all be factored into the equation. Incorporating pictures to the connected home or connected car are other options. All this, and more, needs to happen for mobile video monetization to happen. Dialogic is poised to help given our software media server / MRF, which is required for all these video value-added services, supports video and IR.94.
So are we on the verge of monetization or not? Let us know your thoughts by adding a comment and joining the conversation below, or connect on Twitter at @JimMachiDialogic.