Mobile Broadband Providers Urged to Support VoIP

Telecommunications is a multi-billion pound industry. Almost everyone now has a mobile phone in his or her pocket. Our love affair with technology in the 21st Century has seen the public embrace every new piece of ‘smart’ tech, giving us all instant communications, no matter where in the world we are. But experts are concerned that mobile providers may be holding back on incorporating the very latest tech into their provisions – mobile VoIP.

Massive potential

The VoIP system has been up and running for at least 15 years, and for many business and domestic customers it provides them with cheap phone calls to both local and international numbers. The benefits of VoIP have been proven in the commercial sector, but mobile users have until now seemingly been left out of the equation. Which is strange when you consider that the mobile VoIP companies who are providing their customers with this option are forecasting £21billion in potential revenue by 2015.

This is an astonishing prediction, but if mobile VoIP does become an accepted part of mobile telephony packages, it is perfectly achievable. In 2008 mobile VoIP companies had already generated £422million. Factoring in the speed with which mobile technology grows, the £21billion forecast suddenly seems much less surprising than at first glance.

But despite this massive potential for growth, many mobile phone providers still seem reluctant to give up their flat rate mobile data pricing policies. Surveys have shown that almost 70{00d49d11e69c107fd0547ad1426c94743daa91813c9cad4d9ea0d389f8c38222} of ISP providers in Europe either prohibit or restrict the use of VoIP over their mobile broadband networks. For customers tied into contracts with providers, this means that they could be missing out on cheap calls from their mobiles purely because of internal company policy.

Complementary technology

The introduction of smart phones that can link in to Wi-Fi or mobile broadband connections means that anyone with this complementary technology can take advantage of cheap phone calls via VoIP. In fact, the smart phone providers seem to be far more pro-active in their incorporation of VoIP as many, including the all-conquering Apple iPhone come with features that specifically allow customers to utilise VoIP services through either mobile broadband or Wi-Fi facilities. So despite user demand, the availability of cutting edge technology and the potential for massive revenue, why are some providers still reluctant to embrace VoIP?

The argument put forward by reluctant providers is that VoIP does not offer the same quality or reliability when compared to services provided by the GSM network. Whilst it may be true that 15 years ago, the earliest versions of VoIP were often susceptible to loss of connection and poor sound quality, this actually had far more to do with sub-standard microphones fitted into PCs and unstable broadband connections.

The advent of fibre-optics, faster and more reliable broadband connections and superior quality hardware in the form of smart phones renders this argument moot. It almost seems that vendors are reluctant to embrace VoIP because it may mean initially a drop in call revenue. However in the longer term, providers will see a rise in revenue as more people use VoIP to make cheap phone calls from their mobiles.

We love to talk to each other. If providers make it cheaper, it naturally follows that we’ll use the system more. Those providers who do not realise just how revolutionary mobile VoIP is and how much of an influence it will have on telephony over the next five years will be missing out on a potential revenue bonanza. And their customers will be missing out on cheap calls. That could be a disastrous combination for providers who do not take a more positive attitude towards VoIP.

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