Nearly five years since mobile Voice-over-IP (VoIP) services were first introduced in the marketplace, it's about to move beyond an inexpensive alternative for making international calls -- to become an integrated component of unified social networking services.
According to the latest market study by In-Stat, the next several years are expected to be transformational as mobile network service providers figure out how to respond to a forecast of nearly 139 million mobile VoIP users by 2014.
"Mobile VoIP is gaining real market presence with usage rates climbing rapidly," says Amy Cravens, Market Analyst at In-Stat.
As it becomes further incorporated into other mobile apps, specifically social networking applications, 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.
In-Stat's latest market study 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 thereby avoid the roaming fees that mobile operators charge.