Dubai: Industry experts said that the mobile video calling feature has been present since 3G was introduced in 2010.

Under the specifications of 3G, the networking technology has two sections — data and voice. The digital voice carries the video signal on 3G network.

Even if the user does not have a data connection, the voice call a user makes is on 3G or 4G network right now.

“It is not a new standard or technology, as it is based on 3G-324M Standard for Wireless Multimedia, which is a group of protocols for supporting real-time multimedia services over circuit-switched networks. The standard includes technology that handles the different types of multimedia services including video functions and codecs [different formats] as well,” said Mohamad Twaishi, senior research manager of telecoms and media at International Data Corporation.

So, he said a 3G compatible phone can call another compatible 3G phone directly over the telco network (without third party plug in or data service), and it will be charged based on the local rates.

“There have been a lot of tests claiming that the feature works on certain Samsung Galaxy Smartphones, Nokia Symbian Phones and Window Mobile as well. Some of the Smartphone OEMs [such as Samsung] coded this feature in their Android OS while others decided not to include it,” he said.

There are some vendors who have said that they don’t want to add video call facility because all of operators in the US have stripped this feature by default. Apple’s iPhone, BlackBerry, Microsoft Mobile and some of Samsung models are not supporting the video call facility.


Although it is a telco network feature and not a third-party service, “I think the TRA will move it away to maintain competitiveness across the OEM space in order to have options for the consumers to select from,” he said.

But Sukhdev Singh, vice-president at market research and analysis services provider AMRB, said that the telco operators can block this feature but they probably will not as they are getting more money out of this feature. If the manufacturer has the feature and asks the telco operators to acknowledge it, it will work on other smartphones too. Both parties have to acknowledge it.

“Today, voice calls are on digital and they are no more on analogue. The operators are allowing the voice and video on digital and on 3G or 4G network for more clarity and reliability. On the same voice network, video also can be transmitted,” he said.