Juniper Research: Mobile VoIP Users to Reach 1 Billion by 2017

by Gaurav Kheterpal on December 17, 2012

2012 has been a remarkable year for the Mobile VoIP industry, thanks largely to the rapid proliferation of smartphones and tablets. In February, Cisco published the Cisco Visual Networking Index Global Mobile Data Traffic Forecast for 2011 to 2016 which indicates that the amount of mobile data traffic will grow at a compound annual rate of 78% for the next five years and there will be over 10 billion devices by 2016. This effectively means that mobile devices will outnumber humans in the next four years.

For long, Mobile VoIP has been projected as one of the killer applications in the smartphone segment. Juniper Research last week forecasted that there will be over 1 billion users of over the top (OTT) mobile VoIP services by 2017, reflecting a dramatic shift in how voice traffic is carried over the next five years. In fact, it’s believed that Mobile VoIP will grow much faster than conventional wireless service providers, thereby putting pressure on wireless carriers operating in the OTT space.

Dubbed as the ‘Second Wind’ for Mobile VoIP, it’s believed that this segment will grow in volume but only a very small percentage of users will actually pay for the service. Juniper Research says that providers in the Mobile VoIP segment have come key shortcomings such as poor quality, dropped calls and an unsatisfactory user experience. Some experts say that wireless carriers have kick themselves in the foot with Mobile VoIP as the introduction of 4G technologies has made VoIP a more accessible and reliable option.

Mobile VoIP penetration in the business segment has been boosted by the increasing BYOD acceptance in the enterprise space. Mobile VoIP offers business users the ability to take the desktop phone experience with you, the ability to utilize the benefits of IP-based communication features, a cheaper international long-distance cost, an easy implementation path and better indoor coverage where cellphone reception has historically been poor.

While there’s no doubt that the Mobile VoIP minutes will rise astronomically in the next 4 years, the same can’t be said about the revenue. On the contrary, experts believe that mobile VoIP probably cannibalizes mobile voice revenue. A number of mobile VoIP companies hope to address the monetization problem is by opening their application programming interfaces to third parties and mobile network operators. Players are also offering increasingly sophisticated service offerings.

While the forecasted numbers are impressive, the commercial viability of Mobile VoIP, at least for now, remains unproven.

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Written by: Gaurav Kheterpal. www.digitcom.ca. Follow TheTelecomBlog.comby:RSS,TwitterFacebook, or YouTube.

 

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