VoIP subscriptions worldwide have increased substantially, with further growth predicted in the years to 2020 as more and more residential customers and businesses turn to VoIP to reduce costs.
If we examine the fixed-line PSTN and VoIP subscriber base, we see that the downward trend in PSTN subscriptions is almost completely compensated by the increase in VoIP accounts. This is a good indication that the future of fixed-line telephony lies in building all-IP networks. Though the migration from POTS and PSTN to all-IP technologies will not happen overnight, it is inevitable. Consumers are driving the change by moving away from the traditional copper wire networks, which are therefore becoming more expensive to maintain.
In 2014, AT&T began testing all-digital IP phone networks in two US cities: West Delray Beach in Florida and Carbon Hill in Alabama. AT&T's ultimate goal is to abandon legacy switched telephone networks (PSTN and POTS) in favour of an all-IP delivery of voice, data and video.
A major difference between fixed-line VoIP and mobile VoIP is that the latter is only really free when connecting to a WiFi network; otherwise, users calling over 3G or 4G networks must pay the standard internet connection rates and data charges. Nevertheless, with the dramatic increase in smartphones globally, mobile VoIP has been skyrocketing, with millions of users around the world subscribing to one or more of the many OTT companies offering mobile VoIP apps and services.
While a few forward-looking mobile operators understand the importance of accepting and even encouraging OTT services, some incumbents are applying pressure on regulators to restrict mobile VoIP. Others operators, especially in the more developed markets, are competing directly with OTT players by launching their own VoLTE services.
With the improved coverage and penetration of LTE as well as the massive adoption of smartphones, Voice-over-Long Term Evolution (VoLTE) has in fact become a priority throughout the world for operators that wish to bring HD voice service to their LTE customers.
This unique BuddeComm Intelligence report provides key industry information and statistics on the worldwide fixed VoIP market and mobile VoIP market.
In September 2014, Google Voice was integrated into Hangouts (Google's IM application). Facebook launched free VoIP for its mobile Facebook Messenger service in April 2014. WhatsApp, which was acquired by Facebook in February 2014, added mobile VoIP to its messaging app in March 2015. VoLTE has been launched in South Korea, the USA, Hong Kong, Singapore, Romania, Denmark, Japan, Germany, and CanadaJapanese conglomerate and e-commerce giant Rakuten, having acquired Viber in February 2014, is reportedly planning to turn it into part of an e-commerce platform. AT&T is testing all-digital IP phone networks in the two US cities of West Delray Beach, Florida, and Carbon Hill, Alabama.