Verizon Wireless announcement with LG about their video calling using the VoLTE protocol caught me a bit off-guard, but then it became one of the more interesting announcements at MWC this year for me.
Why? Because it shows that operators are actively thinking about how they are going to address the brave new world of video calling.
Up until this announcement, I had in mind 3 options for operators:
- Sit on the fence and wait (the most common option of all)
- Buy one of the smaller players who provide SIP or proprietary based video calling services
- Go with a branded solution from the likes of Qik, Skype or a few others that are available
But then came Verizon with LG and they bring another option: Take VoLTE, a voice/SMS focused service and use it first for video calling.
Operator’s secret answer to video calling services: a voice protocol
While VoLTE suffers from the need to support voice call continuity when moving from areas with LTE reception to 3G or GSM networks, video calling doesn’t suffer from this restriction – as there is no “real” mobile video calling service that is being widely used, there is no need to support it. So you basically get as the first IMS service being deployed a video chat service and not voice and SMS.
If you think about it – it makes perfect sense. It provides operators with a standardized way to deal with a video calling service now, and later add to it things they do well over circuit switching already.
Will other operators follow? Probably yes. Assuming they see the value in video calling services.