I've been writing about technology for nearly 20 years, including editing industry magazines Connect and Communications International. In 2002 I co-founded Futurity Media with Anthony Plewes. My focus in Futurity Media is in emerging technologies, social media and future gazing. As a graduate of philosophy & science, I have studied futurology & foresight to the post-grad level.
Mobile VoIP is maturing into far more than a mechanism for bringing cheap voice calling to users as usage increases. Analyst firm Frost & Sullivan has found that while revenues in North America, Europe, Asia Pacific and Latin America totalled around US$608 million at the end of 2008 they are expected to grow to US$29.57 billion by 2015.
"The emergence of flat rate mobile data pricing, positive growth of smartphone shipments and high-speed mobile broadband availability has spurred the adoption rate of mobile VoIP," commented Saviero Romeo, senior industry analyst with the firm. "Mobile operators realise they can no longer ignore the fact that mobile will be a key component of integrated IP-based communications and next generation wireless technologies such as HSPA+ and LTE."
Analyst firm, Juniper Research, sees those technologies as key enablers of the rapid development of mobile VoIP. The firm expects mobile VoIP services to deliver significantly faster in developed markets thanks to the direct correlation between them and 3G roll outs. That's in spite of the fact that mobile VoIP traffic volumes are likely to be greater in developing markets because of the calling habits of migrant workers. Juniper Research expects mobile VoIP users to total more than 100 million by 2012.
"By 2012 we expect significant uptake of mobile VoIP in its various flavours, " said Anthony Cox, a senior analyst at Juniper. "By that date mobile VoIP will be available over 3G and Wi-Fi networks."
However, Juniper warned that the greatest use of VoIP will be within Wi-Fi networks which will bypass traditional operators altogether.