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Mobile VoIP is an Opportunity, Not a Threat

Mobile Voice over IP (VoIP) is moving beyond its initial benefit, as a preferred approach to make inexpensive international calls from a mobile device, according to the latest In-Stat market study.

While Mobile VoIP still poses a potential threat to mobile operator voice revenue, it also represents a dynamic new capability that promises numerous applications. In-Stat projects that by 2013 Mobile VoIP applications will generate annual revenues of $32.2 billion, driven by over 278 million registered users worldwide.

One new application integrates Mobile VoIP into a unified mobile interface to social networking sites. In another new development, MVNOs and 3G operators without legacy networks are using Mobile VoIP to more cost effectively add voice to data offerings. In yet another scenario, a few carriers are using a form of Mobile VoIP, UMA, to support better indoor coverage and off-load macro networks.

"Applications such as Skype and Vonage have influenced users to think of voice as a data application," says Frank Dickson, In-Stat analyst. "The increasing penetration of Wi-Fi in mobile devices was the beach-head that Mobile VoIP applications needed."

As user habits are being shaped by rich on-line communication experiences, mobile service provider control over devices and data applications is decreasing. Mobile carrier attempts to slow the spread of on-line Mobile VoIP are also proving to be pointless.

Therefore, why not embrace this new trend, as an upside revenue opportunity?

In-Stat's market study found the following:

- Activities associated with early Mobile VoIP successes are likely to influence LTE operator voice plans in ways that potentially favor IMS.

- While the EMEA region has more Mobile VoIP related revenue currently, Asia Pacific will be the largest regional market by 2013.

- Dual-mode handsets will approach nearly 400 Million units shipped in 2013.

- Revenue and users associated with Mobile VoIP will be distributed among online Mobile VoIP services, 3G-Based Mobile VoIP offerings, and WiMAX/LTE 4G Mobile VoIP offerings.

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