According to the recent report "The Future of Consumer VoIP" by Research and Markets, it is important to distinguish between a profitable business that successfully sells VoIP services and a profitable VoIP business.
“Successful VoIP businesses are driven by other services the company offers, and by services that align with customers’ perceived needs not by the VoIP business alone," as the research firm claims.
In the early 2000s, telecom industry experts widely expected VoIP to change the dynamics of the voice communications business. But a decade later, the largest providers of consumer Internet voice services are, with one exception, conventional telecommunications companies. Some are pioneers and innovators, some are not. “What they do share, however, is a market strategy that doesn’t rely solely on price,” the analysts say.
According to the report, the most profitable over-the-top VoIP providers are those that quickly leveraged their success into building their own networks. Successful VoIP providers offer multiple communications services, as well as services aligned with the key needs of targeted markets.
The research shows that telecoms have more natural advantages in the VoIP business than incumbency. They understand consumer expectations, and the migration to all-IP networks allows them to leverage network consolidation.
Analysts note that the pressure is on VoIP service providers to make VoIP mobile. Driven by growing mobile handset capabilities and broadband subscriptions, and continued high prices for international calls, the market for mobile VoIP is developing quickly. “The mobile handset is coming into its own as a platform for converged communications,” the research firm states.
According to the report, the rapidly growing number of mobile smartphones creates opportunities to integrate voice interaction into a wide range of applications, as well as creating opportunities for other types of intelligent, converged appliances reinventing the home phone, for example. Amazon’s Kindle e-book shows the opportunity for mobile communications-equipped "appliances" at mass-market prices.
Analysts also finds that consumers increasingly want services customized to their needs, preferences and priorities giving VARs, software companies, and internet companies, as well as voice service providers, opportunities increase their value to specific markets and customers.
The report concludes that consumer VoIP is most successful in the most regulated (non-Communist) markets. “Emerging markets present big risks, but offer big VoIP opportunities because many people in these countries are bypassing conventional telephone service for mobile and VoIP,” according to Research and Markets.
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