How will 4G mobile networks affect video chat on mobiles

Nerd Insider By Nerd Insider, 20th Apr 2012 | Follow this author | RSS Feed | Short URL
Posted in Wikinut>News>Technology

Information and speculation about how super-fast 4G mobile phone networks will affect video chat on mobile phones.


For many, many years Hollywood has been tantalising us with made-up mobile video chat devices on the silver screen. Well we do currently have them in the form of smart phones. So why don't we see people using mobile video chat more often?

From my experiences, I've found that the quality has been pretty patchy and the audio and video feed have a habit of stalling. However, that all looks set to change with the introduction of 4G mobile phone networks

What exactly is a 4G mobile network?

In terms of technical specifications a true 4G mobile network really just means a mobile network which allows downloads speeds of at least 1 gigabit per second when stationary and 100 megabits per second while moving. However, be aware that many mobile operators are ignoring the specifications and branding their services as 4G when they do not meet these technical standards.

Speed-wise true 4G represents a massive improvement over 3G with speed improvements ranging from 10x to 50x.

What difference will 4G make?

4G mobile networks are intended to make a big improvement to on-the-go mobile phone multi-media capabilities. The most noticeable differences should be very quick web browsing, extremely fast download speeds and high quality video streaming with virtually no buffering.

In terms of on-the-go video chat on mobile phones 4G should make a huge difference. The speed improvements should allow two users both on 4G networks to make video calls with crystal clear audio and pin sharp image quality.

What will it mean for uptake of mobile video chat services?

The answer to this question is rather difficult to predict. While the 4G networks will make video chatting on mobiles work much more smoothly and to a higher quality, there are factors which may well hold back mainstream adoption.

Regularly using video chat on 4G networks could incur significant data costs. One of the key factors here will be the data pricing structures mobile networks put into place. If cheap data packages become the norm mainstream adoption is highly likely.

Another factor which could hold back adoption could simply be people feeling uncomfortable on camera. Many people will likely feel awkward when using mobile video chat particularly if they have low self-esteem in regard to their physical appearance.

In my opinion on-the-go video chat will become very popular due to it's personable and fun nature. However, I think widespread adoption is still at least 5 years off as I suspect that the phone operators will take a significant amount of time to reduce their data charges and it will take mainstream users several years to become culturally comfortable with on-the-go mobile video chat.

What are your thoughts?

I'd love to hear your your thought on 4G networks and mobile video chat. If you have any thoughts on 4G video chat or if you've had the chance to try it out please feel free to leave a comment or ask a question. I'll try to reply as soon as possible.

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