Mobile VoIP to get 'second wind', analyst predicts
Mobile VoIP is expected to get a "second wind" over the next five years, due to improvements in network technology, increased competition and a move by mobile operators to join the VoIP space, according to Juniper analyst Anthony Cox.
This second wind should propel mobile VoIP users over the one billion mark by 2017, predicts Cox.
Some developments this week would tend to support this prediction for mobile VoIP. For example, VoIP provider Rebtel launched a platform that enables app developers to create new VoIP apps for iOS and Android smartphones.
In addition, Avaya's Radvision announced that its Scopia Mobile VoIP video collaboration app will now be available for Android smartphones and tablets. And Research in Motion (NASDAQ: RIMM) made available this week its VoIP and IM app for Blackberry 7s on its App World store.
Factors attracting business users to mobile VoIP include the "ability to take the desktop phone experience with you, the ability to utilize the benefits of IP-based communication features, a cheaper international long-distance cost, an easy implementation path and better indoor coverage where cellphone reception has historically been poor," said Amy Cravens, a senior analyst with In-Stat.
Cox noted in a blog that the mobile VoIP market has changed significantly. "Fly-by-night companies have gone, quality has improved immeasurably and traditional telcos are beginning to join their rivals in offering mobile VoIP," she said.
Mobile VoIP players are becoming more creative in monetizing VoIP services. For example, specialist mobile VoIP providers are opening their application programming interfaces to third parties, including mobile operators, to gain revenue, Cox related.