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October 22, 2010

More than One in Five Consumer Broadband Lines Now Come with VoIP

By Anil Sharma, TMCnet Contributor

More than one in five consumer broadband lines now come with VoIP, according to industry analysts Point Topic.

As per the latest figures from Point Topic VoIP is becoming increasingly important to service providers and achieving significant penetration of the consumer market.

“Over 22 percent of consumer broadband lines worldwide now come with a Voice over IP service.  Passing 100 million subscriptions by the end of 2009 VoIP has continued to grow adding another 12 million subscribers in the first half of 2010,” said John Bosnell, senior analyst, Point Topic, in a statement.

According to Point Topic, there are some markets now where it is very difficult and not generally cost effective to subscribe to broadband without a VoIP service thrown in. France Telecom (News - Alert) for example offer one relatively low speed consumer stand-alone broadband subscription but a wide range of higher speed bundles.

Bosnell said that France is a stand out example. Fierce competition has been encouraged and ISPs like Free, who only offer bundled services which include VoIP, have helped drive consumer perception towards the expectation of low cost add on services from their ISPs and VoIP is relatively easy and cost effective solution, said Bosnell.

This trend has meant that over 70 percent of French households now have a VoIP service available to them and saturation is now a significant factor. Other markets have more headroom.

While there are not many targets left amongst French broadband subscribers and other markets are quickly converting much of their remaining subscriber base there are significant absentees from the ‘top 10’ chart above.

Bosnell said that China, the largest broadband market, has only one in 20 broadband subscriptions with a VoIP bundle.

He said that the US which is currently the largest VoIP market in absolute terms is closing in on one in three mainly due to cable companies offering their customers a voice service based on VoIP. So there’s plenty of headroom there and around the world.

At the end of 2009 just under $15 billion a year was being generated by VoIP most often as part of a bundled subscription.  This is almost double the revenue generated by Security, the next nearest value added service.

Bosnell noted that VoIP has come a long way in a short time.  “It’s attractive to consumers as it is priced very competitively in terms of subscription and call charges.  It’s attractive to operators as it’s a straightforward implementation that offers a chance for them to differentiate their services.  There’s no reason to believe growth is going to slow significantly until a market reaches saturation and we could reasonably expect to see 200 million subscribers by 2015,” he said.

Anil Sharma is a contributing editor for TMCnet. To read more of his articles, please visit his columnist page.

Edited by Juliana Kenny

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