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Will Mobile VoIP Become an Enterprise Channel of Choice?

 
July 22, 2014


By Susan J. Campbell, TMCnet Contributing Editor
 

When it comes to mobile, most of us are onboard. We not only have a wireless plan in place, many of us also have a smartphone that we can’t stand to be without for longer than a minute or two. It’s a demonstration of the evolution of telecom and the distance we have come since the days of the switchboard operator. We’re not just connected, we’re also flocking to mobile VoIP.

In fact, according to reports published by the Federal Communications Commission, 47 percent of consumers with wireline voice service are now also using VoIP. The report, The Local Telephone Competition, also shows that 38 percent of consumers are purchasing that VoIP service from a provider that is not their incumbent phone company.

Business customers are a different story, however. In fact, the FCC (News - Alert) found that only 15 percent of business lines are actually using VoIP – a far cry from what providers would have us to believe. The edge in the market is enjoyed by the incumbent carriers as 57 percent of the market share belongs to business wireline customers. In mid-2013, however, competitive carriers claimed 8 million business VoIP lines. ILECs, on the other hand, sold 837,000 VoIP lines to business customers over the same time period.

Believe it or not, the statistics surrounding wireless use is actually monitored each year by the Centers for Disease Control. The agency compares landline customers with those who have wireless devices and found that two in every five American homes, or 41 percent, used only wireless devices during the second half of 2013. Still, the CDC also found that the uptake of a wireless option slowed slightly in 2013 when compared with other years.

According to the U.S. Telecom Association (News - Alert), ILECs will lose as much as 70 percent of switched access lines from 2000 to 2015, and 79 percent of switched residential access lines. The biggest driver to this shift is competition from facilities-based wireless and cable providers. Customers are seeing better options and they’re jumping on board to take advantage of the cost savings that also support their mobile habits.

Overall, the findings in each of these reports show that while the average consumer is ready to embrace mobile VoIP, the business user is not. In fact, the rate for residential voice services is three times greater than for business. Does this suggest there is less risk for the average consumer or that the switch is just easier to make?

The reality is there is plenty of opportunity in the business environment for the provider able to inspire a change. The question is whether or not these providers understand the hesitation in the first place so they can overcome the objections and offer a better solution.




Edited by Stefania Viscusi

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