Bell, Rogers and TELUS Conduct Two Way Video Calling Trials

by Gaurav Kheterpal on February 26, 2010

Bell, Rogers & TELUS - Two Way Video Calling

Bell, Rogers & TELUS - Two Way Video Calling

The big three – Bell, Rogers and TELUS have recently completed interoperability testing for two-way video calls. Though video calling has been available on these carrier’s individual networks for some time now, inter-carrier video calls have been a distant reality till now.

Amongst the three, Rogers was the first carrier to offer video calling on its network as early as March, 2007. Bell and Rogers followed suit a couple of years later in 2009. Video calling was once predicted to be the ‘Next Big Thing’ in mobile world but it’s been a modest achiever by all means.

There are some obvious reasons why Two Way Video Calling failed to take off big time. First, there’s a very limited choice of video calling handsets. For TELUS, you have E71 and New Chocolate and for Bell – there’s N97, LG Xenon and Omnia II. Rogers probably has the most options when it comes to video calling enable handsets and its portfolio includes N95, E71, Diamond and a few other phones as well.


Second, there is the inter-carrier operability challenge. I’ve written about the ugly numbers game amongst Canadian carriers several times and this makes the interoperability task even more daunting. Bell offers a unique video calling proposition by allowing you to make calls to Facebook, something which other carriers have not been able to achieve till now. 

In my opinion, it’s a welcome move and I’m glad that inter-carrier video calling in Canada now looks to be around the corner. Here’s what each of the big three had to say on the recent inter-op tests.

Bell – “We are proud to be part of the first inter-carrier partnership in North America to enable clients to call each other using video capabilities. By breaking down the barriers between video calling clients in Canada, we anticipate strong demand for the service – as we saw with past inter-carrier initiatives such as text and picture messaging.”

Rogers – “The trial uses inter-carrier mobile video calling to take video communications to the next level, creating a much larger video-calling community, and providing customers with greater flexibility and freedom in the way they communicate. This is an exciting development for wireless users in Canada and marks a major milestone for video calling”

TELUS – “Mobile video calling is a richer communications experience for family, friends and business contacts. This successful trial with Bell and Rogers is a milestone in the Canadian mobile community.

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Written by: Gaurav Kheterpal. www.digitcom.ca. Follow TheTelecomBlog.com by: RSSTwitter,Identi.ca, or Friendfeed

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Jordan Richardson February 26, 2010 at 12:04 pm

What these companies really have to prove is why anyone would want to use what will amount to an expensive service with a mainstream provider when there are scores of video calling services available for free or for very low prices online.

Gaurav Kheterpal March 30, 2010 at 1:47 am

@Jordan: True. Economic feasibility remains the biggest challenge in cross-carrier video calling. Now that Skype has decided to aggressively target all major carrier networks, it is bound to get even harder for carriers. None the less, it’s a positive step that the big 3 Canadian carriers joined hands for a cause.

Jordan Richardson March 30, 2010 at 3:42 am

The Big Three Canadian carriers have long been joining hands, though. I don’t see it as anything more than an attempt for Bell, Telus and Rogers to continue their dominance over the Canadian consumer. And, what’s more, it appears to be little more than a calculated strategy to sell customers something they can get elsewhere for free.

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