The number of users of mobile video calling services is forecast to increase four-fold to almost 160-million by 2017, driven by improvements in both the user-interface and the underlying technology. 
A study by Juniper Research finds that advertising and freemium models are beginning to emerge in the mobile video calling market but revenue generation remains the key challenge for mobile video calling players.
Freemium models are being explored, but are behind other areas of the broader mobile market, while mobile advertisers have yet to explore the potential of mobile video calling in earnest, states the report.
“Mobile advertising per se is becoming main-stream but the model still needs to be adapted for mobile video calling for meaningful revenues to become available to service providers,” says the report’s author, Anthony Cox.
Despite this, key players in the mobile video calling market have recently received additional funding from their backers, representing an implicit blessing of their business strategies.
Further findings from the report, Mobile & Tablet Voice & Video Calling – Strategic Opportunities & Business Models 2012-2017, include:
* Specialist mobile VoIP companies are opening their application programming interfaces to third parties, including MNOs, to gain revenues;
* The arrival of 4G will give further impetus to mobile VoIP take-up, but potentially accelerate the decline in overall voice revenues for MNOs;
* Advanced IP-based services will develop 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; and
* Revenues from the circuit switched voice market will continue to fall over the next five years, but will not accelerate.