In your face! The rise and rise of video calling

In 2007 the mobile network 3 announced it had done a deal with Skype to bundle in free voice calling on some of its phones.

The industry went a bit crazy. Back then, operators made most of their money from voice calls. Why would one of them willingly give its customers free calling? It seemed like madness.

Well, 3 was just ahead of the game. As the years rolled by, operators started to bundle hundreds of minutes into one flat rate plan. For most customers, at least in developed markets, the idea of paying for individual calls died. Instead, operators began to make money on data tariffs. And to sell data, they needed compelling data products. Yes, like Skype.

In time, the data pipes got fatter. And so ‘free’ voice calling gave way to free video calling. The science fiction dream of real-time video conversations became so ordinary even grandparents did it.

Today, video calling is normal. In 2016, the NPD Group revealed that 52 percent of smartphone users aged 18-34 now use their smartphones to make video calls

This is pretty amazing, given the social barriers. After all, during a voice call you can be naked, have bad hair, pick your nose and look at the TV. Video removes these ‘luxuries’. For years, experts thought the social factor would hamper video. It clearly hasn’t.

Instead, we now have many options for making video calls. While Skype kicked it all off in 2006, and Apple popularised the idea with FaceTime in 2010, today nearly every digital giant has a video calling option. Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp added it in 2016, and Google launched Duo as a single easy option for all Android owners. Today, you can even video call on Amazon Echo.

But there are many more options. With over two billion Android users, there will always be room for innovation. So some apps like Tango offer masks and avatars. Others such as oVoo support group calling. Meanwhile, Camfrog offers chat rooms where users can find friends with similar interests.

In time, more apps will join them. It’s inevitable, because of the sheer rise in the number of smartphones with a 4G connection. According to Cisco, 429 million new mobile devices came online in 2016 – most of them smartphones. It says a smart device generates 13 times more traffic than a feature phone. There are now 1.77 billion 4G subscribers.

Clearly, any new video calling app developer needs a strategy for making money. Advertising is tricky. After all, you can’t interrupt a call with an ad. 

Our solution generates ads on your user’s after-call screen. So they will see ads every time they take or make a call. This generates many views per day, yet it doesn’t interfere with the calling experience. In fact, it makes it better. The after-call screen displays caller information and lets the user save a new contact, re-dial or to go back to the app – all in one click. Calldorado also links your app features to phone calls and makes them an integral part of your app’s experience. This can significantly increase your app’s usage.