Measures considered by some operators to block, or make illegal, the use of VoIP services on their network are a waste of time, especially given the clear signals by consumer and business users indicating a demand for these type of applications. This is one of the findings from visiongain's
new report, "VoIP in Europe 2006-2011: Market analysis and forecasts."
Vonage's announcement that it has teamed up with UK Wi-Fi service provider The Cloud to offer free VoIP calls is the first major move in this direction, which will force mobile operators to follow suit.
Visiongain believes there is money to be made from VoIP, arguing that VoIP products and services offer operator new revenue streams and means of growing their business - if they employ the right strategies. Visiongain forecasts the number of residential VoIP users growing at a CAGR of 55.8% until 2011, with revenues reaching almost $2 billion in 2009.
"Operators should focus on deploying IP-based networks rather than worrying about possible threats from VoIP. They ought to look at VoIP as an opportunity to develop new revenue streams," says visiongain analyst and the report's lead author Dr Jean-Pierre Aubertin.
"Fixed-line operators are going to be forced to drastically alter their business models and move into mobiles as a result of the trend for fixed-to-mobile substitution among their subscribers. They will also have to bolster their involvement in the provision of Internet access to maximise their broadband exposure," adds Dr Aubertin.
Naked DSL, which allows customers to cancel their PST service while retaining their broadband DSL service, represents another big threat to fixed-line operators notwithstanding the damage that Skype and fixed-mobile substitution are causing to these operators.
"VoIP is really going to take off once naked DSL becomes widely available, and service providers are closely watching legislative moves to make it happen. This is going to result in increased competition and is going to benefit consumers," concludes Dr Aubertin.
The VoIP market is growing in importance as European companies adopt IP strategies. The push for VoIP is going to be prominent in a number of segments within the business and consumer markets, offering significant opportunities for growth in the development of hardware and services.
Competition in Europe is already intense and VoIP activity is on the rise. ISPs are offering telephony services to their broadband users, and AOL, Wanadoo, BT broadband and many more are signing-up new users on a daily basis. Skype, Google and Yahoo are developing alliances and partnerships with Vodafone, 3 and other service providers in order to develop VoIP solutions that are going to be mass marketed to users on a global basis.
Visiongain also foresees strong demand for hosted IP telephony and IP-based PBXs in the enterprise market. The convergence of data, voice and multimedia is presenting vendors, service providers, and users with new opportunities to manage the delivery and utilisation of telecoms services. The PBX market will increase to 19.4 million lines shipped in 2009, accounting for over $5 billion in revenues. By 2011, 98% of all PBX shipments will be IP based. Hosted IP telephony will also see strong growth, with revenues exceeding $1 billion by 2009.
This report analyses the emergence of VoIP and Wi-Fi/cellular functionality in the European enterprise, business and consumer sectors. Detailed country forecasts are provided and discussed in terms of geographical and technological markets. The report also provides strategies and recommendations that are applicable to fixed and mobile operators, handset vendors, hotspot owners and ISPs. It discusses measures that companies need to implement in order to remain competitive.