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March 28, 2007

In-Stat Report Shows that 9 Percent of U.S. Households Now Have VoIP

The market research firm In-Stat (News - Alert) released a report recently showing that the number of U.S. households using a VoIP service reached 9 percent in 4Q 2006, up from 8 percent at the end of Q3.

According to the firm’s “US Residential VoIP Market Tracker” service, more than 10.6 million US households now have at least one active VoIP user, up from approximately 9 million households at the end of Q3.

Interestingly, the report finds that cable operators and Vonage (News - Alert) are the main players driving the continued growth of VoIP in the US residential telephone market. Meanwhile, the client-based VoIP market has slowed considerably, with only Skype (News - Alert) showing gains in this segment during the fourth quarter.

According to In-Stat’s research, more than 61 percent of active residential VoIP users had discontinued or replaced a traditional phone service when they got their VoIP service. Of those, 76 percent decided to go with a network/ATA-based service, like those offered by the cable companies or Vonage.

Meanwhile, client-based services have generally watched their growth stabilize – the only exception being Skype, which saw its subscriber base continue to grow. According to In-Stat, many of Skype’s competitors actually lost active users during the fourth quarter. (However, it should be noted that client-based VoIP provider Jajah today reported that its user base has grown to two million, globally, since it launched a year ago.)

The report finds that the ability to bypass international tolls continues to be the biggest driver of client-based VoIP services - with users of client-based services reporting that 52 percent of their VoIP calls are for international long distance - while network/ATA-based users report only 6 percent of their calls are for international long distance.

In addition, the percentage of residential VoIP users who use their service for business calls (either in part or exclusively) continues to rise, with 51 percent reporting that they use the service for both business and personal calls and 4 percent reporting they use it exclusively for business calls.

In-Stat’s “US Residential VoIP Market Tracker” service combines end-user research and market analysis to estimate usage and market share among all of the major service providers, including network-based providers such as the cable operators, analog-telephone adapter (ATA)-based services providers such as Vonage and SunRocket (News - Alert), and client-based providers such as Skype, on an ongoing basis.


Patrick Barnard is Assignment Editor for TMCnet and a columnist covering the telecom industry. To see more of his articles, please visit Patrick Barnard’s columnist page.


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