Mobile Video

Fring Punches AT&T in the FaceTime

1:25 PM -- fringland Ltd. has updated its mobile VoIP client to support the front-facing camera on the new iPhone 4. The result is a service much like Apple Inc. (Nasdaq: AAPL)’s own FaceTime, but one that can make video calls over 3G and to devices other than the iPhone, including Android and Nokia Corp. (NYSE: NOK) phones. (See Fring Touts iPhone Video Calls and Apple Unveils the iPhone 4.)

The other result is AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T) quivering in fear over what that could mean for its network.

There’s a reason Apple restricted FaceTime usage to WiFi connections. CEO Steve Jobs said at the time that he needed to work with the carriers more before they'd allow it on 3G. But video calling is quickly becoming a popular app on the iPhone and other devices like High Tech Computer Corp. (HTC) (Taiwan: 2498)’s Evo, and a cross-carrier service could quickly expand the user base. (See Video Chat: Meet the New Data Hog and Qik Touts Video Chat Explosion on Sprint's EVO.)

For AT&T and other carriers, the traffic from these two-way, real-time calls will be significantly harder to manage than one-way streaming content.

I haven’t yet tried Fring, which makes video calls through Skype and other chat networks, so I can’t speak to the quality over 3G (although see how fun it is in the video below). I imagine coverage gaps and dropped calls will leave some preferring WiFi, but opening up the option of 3G could also open a whole new can of worms.

Long Term Evolution (LTE) can’t come soon enough.

— Sarah Reedy, Senior Reporter, Light Reading Mobile

sarahthomas1011 12/5/2012 | 4:30:20 PM
re: Fring Punches AT&T in the FaceTime

Looks like Apple and AT&T aren't the only ones irked by Fring. Skype is threatening to sue the mobile VoIP provider unless it drops support for the Skype chat protocol.

jslampe 12/5/2012 | 4:30:07 PM
re: Fring Punches AT&T in the FaceTime

In your opinion, has mobile technology outstripped service providers' ability to provide bandwidth? 

bwolmarans2 12/5/2012 | 4:29:26 PM
re: Fring Punches AT&T in the FaceTime

Video Calling on mobiles has been pretty standard in Japan for a long time. 

Yes not HD but as Japan has shown it's not really necessary to have HD video calling to roll out a very successful service.


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