An article posted in ITPRO by Stephen Pritchard says that within 5 years, mobile users will make a staggering 470 billion minutes of VoIP (Voice over IP) calls from mobile devices.
The number of voice over IP (VoIP) calls carried over mobile networks is set to grow a massive 30 times over in the next five years.
Analysts Juniper Research calculate that users of mobile 3G and 4G networks currently make 15 billion minutes of calls using VoIP. But as faster networks become more common, Juniper believes this total will rise, to 470.6 billion minutes.
Mobile VoIP traffic is also growing, as more handsets support Internet calling over Wi-Fi, including services such as Skype, and Apple’s new FaceTime video calling service on the iPhone 4.
The competition from Wi-Fi-based voice calls – which typically earn no revenues for the mobile operators – is forcing mobile networks to look again at their policies for carrying VoIP traffic.
If they do not, they risk significant financial losses, as users switch their calls from their cellular minutes, to lower-cost Wi-Fi alternatives.
“We forecast that mobile VoIP over Wi-Fi will cost operators $5 billion globally by 2015,” said Anthony Cox, senior analyst at Juniper Research. “Wi-Fi mobile VoIP is potentially the most damaging of all VoIP traffic as it bypasses the mobile networks altogether.”
Juniper expects to see more deals between operators and VoIP services, as the mobile companies seek to defend their revenues from voice calls.
Arrangements such as those between Three and Skype in the UK, and with Verizon Wireless in the US will become more common, Juniper believes, as operators’ incomes from conventional, circuit-switched calls continue to fall.
Mobile companies will try to “bury the hatchet” with VoIP providers and set up partnerships that will allow them to least capture at least some mobile VoIP traffic.
The trend growth in mobile VoIP calls is expected to grow quickly among business users, who are more likely to use unlocked handsets with VoIP support, such as the Nokia E Series, or devices such as Cisco’s upcoming Cius tablet device.
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