Carriers Losing The Battle For Mobile VoIP, Market Surging To $30B By 2015

A new report published by Frost & Sullivan estimates demand for mobile VoIP capabilities will lead to a $29.57 billion business by 2015, adding that mobile operators that currently levy surcharges or otherwise try to discourage user demand for mobile VoIP need to “embrace the technology rather than fight it.”

The report indicates that about $605.8 million in mobile voice-over-IP revenues were generated in 2008 in North America, Europe, Asia Pacific and Latin America, while estimating that number will rise to $29.57 billion by 2015, driven in large part by the rise of flat-rate mobile data pricing, increasing smartphone shipments and the spreading availability of high-speed mobile broadband.

Carriers remain the roadblock of the industry, the report states, saying that most operators levy a surcharge or other unnecessary fees on the use of VoIP out of fear that it will eat away at dwindling voice-based revenue.

“Despite user demand for cost-effective services, some mobile operators will continue to discourage mobile subscribers from using VoIP over cellular networks and suggest that it will not provide the same quality, efficiency and reliability of services offered by the GSM network,” said analyst Saverio Romeo.

With focus for operators turning to mobile data over voice the fear is getting increasingly unjustified.  Romeo estimated that 60 to 70 percent of the top mobile operators in Europe prohibit or restrict the use of VoIP over their mobile broadband data plans, for example, which doesn’t make sense given that many mobile devices that will support HSPA+ and LTE will be based on open platforms, and will support SIP (Session Initiation Protocol) for third-party applications.