OTT mobile VoIP subscribers near 1 billion

The number of global OTT mobile VoIP subscribers increased more than 550 per cent during 2012 to reach over 640 million, and is expected to approach the 1 billion mark in 2013, according to Infonetics Research.

“While Skype dominates the over-the-top mobile VoIP space, the market is seeing other applications such as Fring, KakaoTalk, Line, Nimbuzz, WeChat and Viber gain in strength,” said Diane Myers, Infonetics Research’s principal analyst for VoIP, UC and IMS.

“But the fact remains that most OTT mobile VoIP providers are making very little money per user. In 2012, the average revenue per user was a meagre $7.13 annually. Since this alone is an unsustainable business model, most providers are turning to advertising, third-party apps and wholesale arrangements with traditional operators.”

The research firm also reported that Microsoft, through its Skype subsidiary, had roughly 40 per cent of all active users of OTT mobile VoIP services in 2012 and it projects that the number of VoLTE subscribers to grow at a 145 per cent compound annual growth rate from 2012 to 2017

Combined, over-the-top mobile VoIP and VoLTE services are expected to become a $16bn business by 2017, it added.

“On the VoLTE front, the success of SK Telecom’s VoLTE adoption—3.6 million subscribers in April 2013—has lifted our forecast,” added Infonetics Research’s principal analyst for mobile infrastructure and carrier economics, Stéphane Téral. “We now expect 12 commercial VoLTE networks and 8 million VoLTE subscribers by year-end, with about three-quarters of those in Asia Pacific.”

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