Just five years since mobile VoIP services were first introduced, it is on the cusp of moving beyond an inexpensive alternative for making international calls to becoming an integrated component of unified social networking services, says research house In-Stat.
The coming years are expected to be transformational as mobile operators and associated players work out how to respond to a forecast of nearly 139 million mobile VoIP users by 2014, say analysts.
“Mobile VoIP is gaining real market presence with usage rates climbing rapidly,” said Amy Cravens, Market Analyst at In-Stat. “As it becomes further incorporated into other mobile apps, specifically social networking apps, the realm of potential use is expected to broaden.
“This has created a great deal of jockeying among mobile VoIP players trying to develop market share and mobile operators trying to determine the best response to this potentially disruptive service offering.”
Other research findings include:
• Mobile operators will gradually remove barriers to mobile VoIP usage, however, will remain guarded in how these services are introduced.
• In-Stat’s consumer survey showed that T-Mobile subscribers had the greatest incidence of mobile VoIP usage, nearly twice that of total respondents.
• Total 2014 revenues will be split between the EMEA (39%), Asia/Pacific (32%), North America (21%), and the rest of the world (8%).
• Because mobile VoIP is portable, users can bring the benefits of VoIP with them when traveling abroad and avoid the expensive roaming fees that mobile operators charge.