Mobile VoIP is poised to become the principal transport for various access technologies, the latest report from Frost & Sullivan says.
The new analysis, "Impact of Mobile VoIP on Next Generation Cellular Networks," finds that Mobile VoIP is no longer just hype, but has become a credible threat to traditional voice revenues.
At the end of 2008, approximately $605.8 million of mobile VoIP revenues were generated in North America, Europe, Asia Pacific and Latin America. This, according to the report, is expected to grow to $29.57 billion by 2015.
'The emergence of flat rate mobile data pricing, positive growth of smartphone shipments, and high-speed mobile broadband availability has spurred the adoption rate of mobile VoIP,' said Saverio Romeo, Frost & Sullivan (News - Alert) senior industry analyst.
Romeo also said that mobile operators now realize they can no longer ignore the fact that mobile will be a key component of integrated IP-based communications and next generation wireless technologies such as HSPA+ and LTE.
Also, significant traction in the application space, primarily driven by the success of the iPhone (News - Alert), has resulted in several smartphone vendors making provisions in their applications stores for users to download and use third-party VoIP clients over both WiFi (News - Alert) and cellular broadband networks.
However, the study points out, that many cellular operators have prohibited the use of mobile VoIP over their cellular networks, with some imposing a surcharge to avoid cannibalization of their circuit-switched voice revenue streams. Moreover, cellular operators face intense competition from the more popular Web-based VoIP alternatives that are permeating the mass market.
'Despite user demand for cost-effective services, some mobile operators will continue to discourage mobile subscribers from using VoIP over cellular networks and suggest that it will not provide the same quality, efficiency and reliability of services offered by the GSM network,' said Romeo.
According to Romeo, recent surveys indicate that nearly 60 to 70 per cent of the major European mobile operators prohibit or restrict the usage of VoIP over their popular mobile broadband data plans.
The study points out that mobile operators should eventually do away with imposing bans or surcharges to their mobile broadband packages to support mobile VoIP, as the client devices supporting HSPA+ and LTE (News - Alert) will be based on open platforms and support SIP for third-party applications.
Romeo suggests that when the operators migrate to an all-IP IMS network, they should drive innovative services such as multimedia telephony, HD voice, integrating voice with context-based information about the user, and the device from a converged presence-enabled address book.
'This will enable them to differentiate their services from mobile VoIP start-ups,' Romeo said.