Yahoo Messenger Offers Video Calling over 3G

Several weeks ago at Yahoo I saw a demo of video calling from a PC to my Android phone. It was "pretty cool." Now the Yahoo Messenger app is out for the iPhone and allows users to make video and voice calls to mobile devices (with front-facing cameras) and PCs over 3G or WiFi. You can also call landlines and mobile numbers with a Voice Out account. 

Apple's FaceTime only works over WiFi currently. Qik, Tango and Fring also offer video calls on mobile devices.

Voice calls between Yahoo Messenger accounts are free. Yahoo Voice Out accounts are available to users in the US, France, Germany, Spain and Singapore. However you can make calls anywhere in the world. Voice Out offers low cost per-minute calling but no flat-fee accounts. Skype by contrast has unlimited flat-fee plans as well as per-minute plans.

Google is also involved here with its Voice offering, allowing free calls from PC-Gmail for the time being. There's also video chat on the PC. However, it's only a matter of time before an independent Google Voice and video calling come to mobile devices. 

Front-facing cameras and video calling will become a standard feature on smartphones going forward. One question is whether VoIP and video calls will count against carrier-plan minutes. Skype calls on Verizon handsets can't be made over WiFi, but can be made over Verizon's 3G network and don't count against minutes.  

A cat-and-mouse game with carriers will ensue wherein people try to use data to make free voice and video calls. Carriers can restrict or block these efforts but ultimately people will be making more calls (and video calls) over VoIP and WiFi networks.

Related: Tango’s iPhone/Android video chat app takes off with 1M downloads