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As Mobile VoIP Takes Off, Mobile Operators Feel The Strain

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April 16, 2012

As Mobile VoIP Takes Off, Mobile Operators Feel The Strain

By Ashok Bindra, TMCnet Contributor

With the widespread use of smartphones, Internet calls have also mushroomed. As a result, mobile voice over IP (VoIP) telephony is taking off, and mobile operators are coming under tremendous pressure.

According to Frost & Sullivan’s (News - Alert) report, the mobile VoIP will grow from $605 million in 2008 to $29.5 billion in 2015, presenting a credible threat to traditional mobile voice revenues. The market research firm attributes the popularity of mobile VoIP to relatively low costs in comparison to traditional voice calls.

The study also sees strong growth rates for mobile VoIP and suggests that by the end of the forecast period in 2015, users will have grown to nearly 83 million lines or seats. According to David Meintjes, MD of Connection Telecom, mobile VoIP's explosive growth will be driven by continued improved WiFi access and, soon, long-term evolution (LTE (News - Alert)). Meintjes adds, “with the rise of smartphones, there has been a corresponding increase in generic softphone applications, which allow calls over the Internet.”

The research firms believe that the softphone apps have become the new driving force behind mobile phone sales, which has given device manufacturers increasingly more control over the phone user experience.

However, as per the ITWeb report, Bennie Langenhoven, managing executive at Tellumat (News - Alert) Communications Solutions, does not believe the rise of mobile VoIP is a threat to mobile operators yet. Nonetheless, and thinks it is taking some revenue away from mobile operators.

A quote from the World Wide Worx MD Arthur Goldstuck, says mobile VoIP is still in its infancy in SA. “The apps available for mobile VoIP have been downloaded by many people, but there is still little interoperability and, therefore, little visibility across the user base,” noted Goldstuck. “We can expect this to change once Skype becomes integrated with Windows Phone (News - Alert), and when the likes of MXit offer a VoIP option.”

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