MVNOs could drive first phase of Mobile VoIP along with the startups
A survey of MVNOs carried out by iLocus, a research firm focussed on emerging communications, reveals that nearly one-fourth of MVNOs are already offering/trialling mobile VoIP. By 2010 over two-thirds expect to have a mobile VoIP offering in place. The survey is part of a report ‘Mobile VoIP: 2008 Status Report’ published by iLocus today.
According to the report, MVNOs could drive the first phase of mobile VoIP apart from the independent startups. The eligible providers are MVNOs, MNOs, ISPs, and Wimax operators. As far as Wimax operators are concerned they have to offer VoIP to differentiate themselves from other broadband providers. Mobile Wimax however is not expected till 2009. Wimax operators at present are looking to offer VoIP over laptops and fixed phones through ATAs.
MNOs can potentially use mobile VoIP feature to dump voice traffic transparently on IP. But they have cannibalization issues. ISPs on the other hand would see this as a completely new service since they have not dealt with mobile services before. So for now, MVNOs are expected to show more interest in mobile VoIP. And since MVNOs are likely to drive the first phase along with the independent startups, the take up is unlikely to be huge as per the report.
Among the issues touched upon by the survey, the network architecture supporting mobile VoIP is of prime importance to MVNOs. The choice is clearly bridged mobile VoIP option that does not necessarily require a data plan. 48% of the MVNOs prefer this option. Mobile VoIP over data connections can imply free calls if the communication is client-to-client. Most MVNOs seem to resist the idea.
The report forecasts the number of PAYING mobile VoIP subscribers served by MVNOs to reach around 1.6 million by the end of 2008.
At present there are estimated 450,000 PAYING mobile VoIP subscribers worldwide. The market in terms of paying subscriber numbers is led by Truphone followed by H3G. The estimated 450,000 paying mobile VoIP subscribers as of April 2008 is forecast to grow to 2.4 million by the end of 2008. By 2012 there could be 26.6 million paying mobile VoIP subscribers worldwide according to the report.
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