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Why Mobile VoIP Subscribers Tripled in 2011

All mobile phone service providers initially resisted any new capability that might reduce revenue from voice calls. However, driven by increased smartphone penetration and a growing breadth of offerings, mobile voice-over-IP (VoIP) usage is now on the rise.

Moreover, the upside potential for greater adoption in 2012 is significant.

As the addressable market of potential users increases with smartphone penetration a greater number of providers are introducing services -- including a growing handful of forward-thinking mobile operators that are beginning to embrace, to some degree, mobile VoIP.

According to the latest market study by NPD In-Stat, active mobile VoIP subscriber rates tripled in 2011 -- growing from 9 million in 2010 to 29 million last year.

"While VoIP is a well-defined market, mobile VoIP is still in its infancy, with most offerings only being developed over the past several years, and because it’s in its nascent stage, there are significant opportunities for companies to develop the market," says Amy Cravens, Senior Analyst at NPD In-Stat.

However, there are also a number of uncertainties, which is not surprising in a new market. The greatest concern being mobile operator's fear of cannibalizing their legacy voice service revenue. Hopefully, the global market leaders will convince other mobile operators to innovate with new VoIP offerings.

NPD In-Stat's latest market study analysis includes:

  • The primary distribution channel utilized by respondents to access mobile VoIP offerings is through the OS application store.
  • The largest concentration of mobile VoIP users is in Western Europe.
  • Revenues associated with mobile VoIP usage will increase to over $4 billion in 2015.
  • LTE operators are not likely to have a significant impact on the mobile VoIP market until 2013.

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