Juniper Research predicts 1 billion mobile VoIP users by 2017

VoIP service providers like Microsoft's Skype and Vonage should benefit

Juniper Research is predicting there will be 1 billion over-the-top (OTT) mobile VoIP users by 2017.

The research firm attributed the increase to improvements in network technology, increased competition and a move by mobile operators to join the OTT space.

This should be good news for VoIP service providers such as fring, Rebtel, Microsoft's (Nasdaq: MSFT) Skype, Tango, Viber and Vonage (NYSE: VG), but bad news for mobile operators who will be losing out on voice revenue because few subscribers will pay for mobile VoIP service.

"Many subscribers sign up to an OTT service without ever planning to pay a cent for it, and some industry players do not have a short-term revenue model at all," said Anthony Cox, a Juniper analyst and author of the report.

Mobile VoIP players are becoming more creative in monetizing VoIP services. For example, specialist mobile VoIP providers are opening their application programming interfaces to third parties, including mobile operators, to gain revenue, Cox related.

In the mobile video calling market, companies are monetizing their products through advertising and premium services.

"[H]ow do you monetise the [mobile VoIP] user base? The answers are beginning to appear. First, you charge for calls which land on the PSTN (a la Skype). Second, you monetise your massive subscriber base through targeted advertising. Third, you white-label the best bits of your infrastructure so that rivals (perhaps including telcos) can offer mVoIP too. Finally, you offer premium services so that subscribers pay for the most advanced features while getting basic  services for nothing," Cox wrote on a blog.

The report predicted the deployment of 4G services would provide further fuel to the mobile VoIP user increase but could accelerate the decline in overall voice revenues.

In addition, the report said traditional circuit switched voice revenues would decline for mobile operators, but they will continue to represent a substantial proportion of mobile operators' revenues.

For more:
- check out Juniper's release
- read Cox's blog

Related Articles:
Study: VoLTE slashes smartphone battery life by 50%
Mobile VoIP gaining headway, despite operator reluctance