Mobile video calling is catching on, according to a report from Juniper Research. Big telecompetitors have launched mobile video calling services in the last 18 months. That along with the growing number of smartphones with front-facing cameras and technology improvements are fueling usage.

Juniper forecasts that there will be more than 130 million mobile video calling users worldwide by 2016.

In the US, AT&T and Verizon offer mobile video calling via the Apple iPhone’s Facetime app. Verizon also offers it via Skype while T-Mobile and Sprint offer it via Qik, which Skype acquired in January. Skype is reportedly looking to get its free video calling app, which operates via 3G or Wi-Fi, on more smartphones. AT&T and Verizon and Tata Docomo and Vodaphone offer 3G mobile video calling in India.

Increasing smartphone penetration in developed markets and the simple process of downloading mobile apps are also contributing to growing usage.  Alliances between Facebook and mVoIP providers and Microsoft’s acquisition of Skype will accelerate uptake, Juniper finds in its “Mobile Voice & Video Calling” report.

“Services such as Apple’s FaceTime have brought mobile video calling to the public consciousness,” said Juniper associate analyst Anthony Cox.

Juniper also finds that the lack of standardization and a clear way of monetizing new mobile video calling services may hold the technology from growing into a mass-market service for the foreseeable future, however.

Other results from Juniper’s report include:

  • Mobile VoIP and mobile video calling services will develop significantly faster in developed markets due to the direct correlation between 3G and 4G roll outs and the take up of mobile VoIP and mobile video calling.
  • Revenues from the circuit switched voice market will continue to diminish over the next five years, although this is not expected to accelerate.
  • Many basic mobile video calling services are offered for free by players wishing to kick-start the market.

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