Leave it to Koreans, who tend to adopt cutting-edge technology at a breathtaking clip, to lead the way in yet another whiz-bang innovation – any-to-any mobile voice and video calling, meant to replace the home landline.
And the service from LG U+, the third-largest carrier in South Korea, has now launched on media players.
It’s targeted for the masses, not just for smartphone users; Subscribers can make IP-based voice and video calls using the Samsung (News - Alert) Galaxy Player, a mobile media player that has the service preinstalled as a mobile broadband app.
The model is a lot like Apple’s embedded FaceTime (News - Alert) video chat app in the iPod Touch, which gives users the ability to video-chat any other FaceTime app on Apple devices. And it’s also a lot like Skype (News - Alert) video calling, which allows users to call other Skype users from a computer, smartphone or a connected TV.
But the LG service breaks the functionality out of the Apple (News - Alert) walled garden approach, and unlike Skype, opens up mobile access beyond the phone.
But here’s the kicker: crucially, the service allows users to make voice calls to any mobile or landline phone number as part of the same app that provides the video calling. Users are therefore issued a telephone number meant to take the place of a landline phone.
LG U+ said it expects the main source of revenue will be video calls, and audio calls between Galaxy Player and mobile and landline phones. Voice calls between Galaxy Players are free.
LG U+, which serves 2.9 million customers, including landline and triple-play customers, expects to soon have 500,000 subscribers using the new service.
“The well-timed launch of this new service will help LG U+ bring in new subscribers and avoid loss of revenue resulting from subscribers switching to OTT providers like Skype and Google (News - Alert),” said Alex Kravchenko, vice president of voice and video over IP engine provider SPIRIT DSP. The service uses the TeamSpirit Voice & Video Engine Mobile to HD video quality.
LG U+ already uses SPIRIT's TeamSpirit Voice&Video Engine to provide HD voice and video communication in its U+070 Mobile service. Tara Seals has over thirteen years of experience as a journalist. Her areas of expertise cover the waterfront of the service provider segment, especially mobile networks, devices and applications; and video infrastructure, content and broadcast models.