The VoIP industry is expected to generate about $15.4 billion in revenue by 2017, according to IBISWorld, growing at a rate of 16.7 percent CAGR. However, the availability free services like Google Voice will continue to threaten the market, said Juniper Research.
All in all, 30 million Americans pay for VoIP service. However, IBIS noted that actual usage of VoIP technology is much higher, as customers who do not pay for their VoIP service are excluded from the analyst firm’s statistics. Over the 10 years to 2017, industry value added (the industry’s contribution to the economy) is expected to increase at an annualized rate of 15.3 percent.
The technology has experienced massive growth, especially at the start of the past five-year period, though residential customer growth has since flattened out. Regulations and the dominance of companies like Google threaten the industry, but the expansion of mobile broadband networks will open up new avenues for growth, IBIS said.
Anthony Cox at Juniper Research forecasts that there will be “over 1 billion users of over the top (OTT) mobile VoIP services by 2017, reflecting a dramatic shift in how voice traffic is carried over the next five years … improvements in network technology, increased competition and the move by telcos to join the OTT space will all come together to give the mobile Internet-voice market a second wind.”
However, as with Skype on the desktop, only a very small proportion will pay for the service. “Many subscriber sign up to an OTT service without ever planning to pay a cent for it, and some industry players do not have a short-term revenue model at all,” Cox said.
IBIS finds that residential service still dominates for now: Cable delivery of VoIP service is by far the most common type of VoIP in the United States, with about 65 percent of VoIP users getting their service this way. Cable companies able to bundle VoIP service with cable service will still fare best in consumer markets in the coming five years, while businesses will slowly but surely turn to VoIP for voice needs, it added. The market leaders are Comcast, Cox, Time Warner Cable and Vonage.