On Tuesday, WhichVoIP released new data showing how quickly the world is embracing VoIP communication. In many markets the question of whether or not VoIP will replace POTS has long ago been answered, and trying to stop it would be like trying to catch an arrow after it’s been shot.
The top three countries in adopting VoIP are France, Japan and India, each one with a different set of circumstances that put it at the top. India has traditionally had a bad copper-based phone system, so the opportunity to move to a technologically superior system appeals to its citizens. The French seem predisposed to the idea of VoIP as one-third of its residents are subscribers. Japan has been good at building VoIP infrastructure as it is second in total number of subscribers and first in mobile subscribers in the world.
The U.S. finds itself lagging behind these three countries, but on the other hand, it’s not too far out of the running. While it leads the world in total subscribers with over 30 million, that only represents ten percent of the population in the world’s third most populated country.
Part of the problem comes from reluctance by the FCC (News - Alert) to allow telecoms to move away from copper wire out of concerns that remote customers would be underserved. American telecoms have long complained about the costs of maintaining legacy infrastructure. The FCC has finally allowed these companies to test limited VoIP deployments.
Other countries like South Korea, Brazil, China and Indonesia have the ability to move forward with VoIP, but for one reason or another, they have not. South Korea, for example, has excellent infrastructure in place, but the government runs the service, stifling any competition.
Sadly there are a handful of countries which do not intend to move forward with VoIP. Saudi Arabia bans services like Skype (News - Alert) to protect its government run telecom. Vietnam bans these services because of censorship, while Pakistan has restricted service in some areas out of concerns that terrorists would use it.
For much of the world, the only question remaining is how long it will take to make VoIP the standard form of communication. The countries who have outlawed the technology may feel a sense of control by restricting it in the short term, but by sticking to costly legacy technology, will only harm their chances for economic success in the long term.
Edited by Alisen Downey