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VoIP Feature Article


Johanne Torres

[See other articles by Johanne Torres]


[April 20, 2005]

Study Says U.S. Households Still Unaware of VoIP


Can this be true? Are there still people that havent seen the VoIP commercials with the annoying, yet catchy song and the million and one ads popping up all over the net? Yes, so says a new study. Despite forecasts of new telecom technologies being rapidly adopted in the U.S., the latest survey from TNS Telecoms indicates that most Americans still have a low awareness of VoIP technology.

According to the study, only 26 percent of households with Internet access report having previously heard about VoIP service after it was described to them. Sixty-seven percent of total U.S. households have some type of Internet access.

"While VoIP service is still relatively new, the results seem to confirm the product is still in the early adopter stage of its life cycle in the U.S.," stated Charles White, VP of TNS Telecoms. "Consumers are receptive to the service quality, cost savings and other benefits VoIP has to offer, but companies need to make an increased effort to communicate these benefits to the marketplace."

Analysts believe that even though recent studies that have forecasted a proliferation of VoIP in the next few years, the survey shows that very few consumers have even heard of the service. TNS says that this level of awareness is virtually unchanged from a year ago, when a poll found 27 percent of Internet users in the U.S. had heard of VoIP. Other studies have implied a disparity between consumer and business awareness, with most business decision makers aware of the service.

According to the study, the fourth quarter of 2004 also marked the first decline in wireless spending across all U.S. households in almost three years, with the average amount spent at $50.59. Prior to this quarter, wireless spending had increased each quarter since first quarter 2002. Wired line services spend decreased again this quarter, extending a declining trend seen over the last few years.

"While the decline in the wireless market is relatively small, it does indicate that the growth in the wireless market is not immune to the pressures of the greater telecom market," said White. "As wireless handset growth reaches saturation, wireless providers must continue to offer new services to drive growth and consumer demand," he concluded.

Johanne Torres is contributing editor for TMCnet.com and Internet Telephony magazine. Previously, she was assistant editor for EContent magazine in Connecticut. She can be reached by e-mail at jtorres@tmcnet.com


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