Mobility and VoIP are two of the most explosive areas of the past decade, so it is no wonder that the two together-like chocolate and peanut butter-are especially hot.
Mobile VoIP isn't new, of course. However, it seems to have reached a particularly high level of recognition and suitably bold predictions. This week, In-Stat released bullish numbers on mobile VoIP, which some refer to simply as "mVoIP."
The firm says that the mVoIP gateway market will pass the $6 billion mark in 2015. Market analyst Amy Cravens is quoted in the release:
One of the key benefits of mobile VoIP for enterprises is extending desk phone functionality to mobile devices. Business-oriented solutions will essentially enable the users' cellphones to become an extension of their desk phones and will deliver, in addition to voice, a unified communications experience, including email, IM, and collaboration.
The release suggests that the increase will be driven by the reversal of mobile operators that will move from being resistors to proponents. mVoIP will be deployed to businesses using IP PBX and hosted PBX platforms. mVoIP will be particularly popular among medium and large enterprises.
Ericsson sees big numbers for mobile broadband which, of course, is deeply tied to, but not synonymous with, mVoIP. The vendor found that the category-which, all things being equal, should be referred to as "mBroadband"-will more than double and pass one billion users worldwide this year. The firm said that 400 million of these users will be in Asia, with the United States and Europe each accounting for 200 million. The firm sees more than 3.8 billion subscriptions by 2015.
Skype, which has been the drama queen of the telecommunications set during the past few months, is in the middle of the growth of mVoIP. Even as it closes in on an IPO, it suffered an outage late last month that certainly gave its executives agita and IT executives reason to question its prudence for mission-critical applications. Still, one day this week the company reported 27 million simultaneous users, 2 million more than its customary load. The service provider's new mobile video capabilities are one driver of the increased usage.
GigaOm, in a story describing the success being enjoyed by fring, makes an interesting point. The service provider says that a driver of its success is the fact that more smartphones and tablets have front-facing cameras:
In addition to the iPhone, the HTC EVO and Samsung's popular Galaxy phones and tablets have front facing cameras, for example. The availability of video calling makes folks install fring and later use it for outbound phone calls.
The story doesn't point this out, but the fact that video calls are a catalyst to mVoIP suggests that the average data load of each call probably is growing along with the total number of subscriptions. That, too, is something for carriers and service providers to think about.
The growth of mobile VoIP isn't news. What is surprising is that the acceleration may just be starting.