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Mobile VoIP Set for Rapid Growth: Operators Should Be Prepared

 
April 05, 2011


By Susan J. Campbell, TMCnet Contributing Editor
 

The telecommunications industry is constantly changing and analysts are challenged to continue to keep the pace and anticipate new directions. This recent Wireless Week (News - Alert) report paid homage to the mark that over-the-top Voice over IP (VoIP) players made on fixed telephony, while acknowledging the new direction in the mobile market.

Mobile VoIP players such as Google (News - Alert), fring and Skype are forcing mobile operators to re-evaluate their current strategies to determine how consumers will embrace mobile VoIP over standard offerings. And, players in the OTT space may be more drawn to mobile VoIP over fixed line due to device intelligence, price, integration with other appliances and even greater segmentation.

Consumers are enjoying significant computing power in their smartphones, as well as the hardware to support advanced acoustics. The smartphone is also a great alternative to the ergonomic restrictions of the PC. And, users enjoy the more competitive pricing that mobile VoIP can deliver.

Mobile devices are also an increasing focus as a platform for the integration of a range of communications media, from e-mail and SMS to Facebook (News - Alert)/Twitter and telephony. Mobile handsets already segment the customer base, which is a great fit for the closed user-group basis of mobile ITT VoIP players.

According to analysis from Analysys Mason, growth in OTT VoIP usage will increasingly come from mobile devices. At the end of 2010, roughly 87 percent of OTT VoIP subscriptions were fixed. This is expected to fall to roughly 60 percent at the end of 2015 as OTT players continue to build a mobile customer base supported by strong smartphone growth.

To minimize the threat from OTT providers, operators will have to take action. Some will block VoIP on their networks. And, while this approach can be effective, it could hurt them in the end. Instead, operators should adjust their pricing as the biggest driver for leveraging OTT VoIP on mobile devices will be the cost differentiation. 

TMCnet recently reported on mobile VoIP research from Infonetics (News - Alert). Business VoIP is rapidly growing and as business users are increasingly relying on smartphones and other mobile devices while on the road, the demand for mobile VoIP is sure to increase.

Juniper Research (News - Alert) also focused on this topic, suggesting that mobile vendors investing in mobile augmented reality (AR) applications and services, is expected to reach $1.5 billion by 2015. With this increased focus on mobile, the demand is rapidly rising for mobile VoIP. As applications continue to emerge, only those players able to keep pace will enjoy the growth.


Susan J. Campbell is a contributing editor for TMCnet and has also written for eastbiz.com. To read more of Susan’s articles, please visit her columnist page.

Edited by Janice McDuffee

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