Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) is gaining popularity in the U.S. as residents and businesses alike are drawn to the lower cost and higher quality connections. While the technology has been available in other regions of the world, many have resisted adoption due to the inability to monitor VoIP activity. China fell into this category – until recently. It seems the country’s citizens will now be able to benefit from softswitch services.
China has increasingly relaxed regulations regarding VoIP operations, recently releasing 4G licenses of major telecommunications operators. The fact that China Mobile (News - Alert) can now leverage the benefits of VoIP from a commercial standpoint, the government has reason to change its positioning on the availability of the softswitch.
These recent changes mean that China is ripe for VoIP investment, drawing the attention of handset maker Xiaomi and software developer Tencent. Businesses in operation in China, or those who want to interact with businesses there, are likely to experience considerable benefits with this changing availability. The long distance cost barriers will continue to fall away and the competitiveness of a company may easily be determined by its access to related services.
Of course call quality will play a large part in widespread adoption. Simply offering a softswitch at a low rate won’t be enough to ensure success, especially when appealing to business customers. Internet users have a certain expectation level when it comes to performance. Those providers hoping to succeed will have to ensure their services meet or exceed these levels to build the necessary consumer confidence. Extending the capability to make calls for free won’t add any value for the user if quality assurance isn’t in place.
Service providers will also have to establish clear partnerships in research and development, staying ahead of current industry trends and the ability to deliver on solutions before customers realize they want them. Market incumbents offer a specific value proposition that can attract hardware providers and mobile application developers. Still, all players will have to prove their worth and competitive acumen to stand out in the crowd.
For business communications providers, this means new opportunity in an expanding market where government control was too tight to enter previously. Limitations may still exist, but investment opportunities are emerging and companies throughout the world that compete in this space are paying attention. In regions where VoIP has yet to be accepted as a viable communication option, China’s move is likely to spark additional activity.
Edited by Alisen Downey