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Saturday, February 13, 2010

VoIPo3G forecasts... I hate to say "I told you so", but....

I *did* tell you:

"The number of VoIPo3G users could grow from virtually zero in 2007 to over 250m by the end of 2012"

"
It will be the operators themselves which will be mainly responsible for the push towards VoIP being carried over cellular networks"

"
About 60m will be using independent or Internet-based solutions – many actually operated in partnership with carriers or retailers"

OK, yes, I missed a few things. At the time I wrote those comments (published in Nov 2007 and researched for the previous 6-9 months), I was still expecting CDMA to go beyond EV-DO and head towards UMB, rather than be usurped by LTE. And I also expected that the industry would have sorted out some form of standardised VoIP for LTE by now, rather than the current mess of CSFB, VoLGA, IMS VoIP, OneVoice and assorted others.

But given the imminent announcement of a Skype / Verizon Wireless deal (which seems to be rumoured as being VoIPo3G rather than call-through like 3's), plus the inexorable rise of VoIP and video like Skype on 3G-connected PCs, it looks like my general pitch is coming true. AT&T is allowing 3G VoIP on the iPhone, and most other operators seem to view it as an inevitability.

And, quite frankly, allowing customers to use VoIP on their mobile broadband means they'll spend less time downloading video and clogging up the network.

So, to various of the skeptics who suggested my prediction of 250m VoIPo3G users by end-2012 was unrealistic.... let's see what the next 3 years bring. I'm not anticipating most of those connections being what I'd call "primary telephony", but I can certainly imagine that a decent proportion of PC, smartphone and "connected device" users by end-2012 will be running voice at least occasionally.


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