There will be more than 1 billion users of over the top (OTT) mobile VoIP services like Skype and Google Voice by 2017, reflecting a dramatic shift in how voice traffic is carried over the next five years.
Part of the general swell of VoIP uptake overall, analyst firm Juniper Research is forecasting what it calls a “second wind” specifically for mobile VoIP, spurred on by improvements in network technology (like the rollout of 4G services), increased competition and the move by telcos to join the OTT space. All of that will come together to give the mobile Internet voice market a fresh push, the firm noted. However, as with landline VoIP services, only a very small proportion will pay for the service.
The report notes, however, that leading mobile VoIP players are becoming increasingly sophisticated in their service offerings and are developing more ways to monetize their services. For instance, specialist mobile VoIP companies are opening their Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) to third parties, including MNOs, to gain revenues. And despite market challenges, mobile video calling players are finally beginning to monetize the mobile video calling sector through advertising and premium services.
For channel partners and resellers, understanding how an increasingly mobile enterprise workforce and the increasing availability of free mobile calling will impact their bread-and-butter voice revenue will be important going forward. Juniper said that in terms of the impact on overall voice revenue, the arrival of 4G will give further impetus to mobile VoIP take-up but potentially accelerate the decline in overall voice as users increasingly turn to free mVoIP calling. Circuit-switched voice revenues will in general still continue to decline, but at the end of the forecast period (2017) will nonetheless continue to represent a substantial proportion of MNOs’ revenues.