By Claire West
Voice over IP is becoming increasingly important to service providers and achieving significant penetration of the consumer market according to the latest figures from leading industry analysts Point Topic.
"Over 22% of consumer broadband lines worldwide now come with a voice over IP service. Passing 100 million subscriptions by the end of 2009 VoIP has continued to grow adding another 12 million subscribers in the first half of 2010," said Point Topic's Senior Analyst John Bosnell.
There are some markets now where it is very difficult and not generally cost effective to subscribe to broadband without a VoIP service thrown in. France Telecom for example offer one relatively low speed consumer stand-alone broadband subscription but a wide range of higher speed bundles.
"France is a stand out example. Fierce competition has been encouraged and ISPs like Free, who only offer bundled services which include VoIP, have helped drive consumer perception towards the expectation of low cost add on services from their ISPs and VoIP is relatively easy and cost effective solution," said Bosnell.
This trend has meant that over 70% of French households now have a VoIP service available to them and saturation is now a significant factor. Other markets have more headroom.
While there are not many targets left amongst French broadband subscribers and other markets are quickly converting much of their remaining subscriber base there are significant absentees from the 'top 10' chart above.
"China, the largest broadband market, has only one in 20 broadband subscriptions with a VoIP bundle. The US which is currently the largest VoIP market in absolute terms is closing in on one in three mainly due to cable companies offering their customers a voice service based on VoIP. So there's plenty of headroom there and around the world," added Bosnell.
At the end of 2009 just under $15 billion a year was being generated by VoIP most often as part of a bundled subscription. This is almost double the revenue generated by Security the next nearest value added service.
"VoIP has come a long way in a short time. It's attractive to consumers as it is priced very competitively in terms of subscription and call charges.
It's attractive to operators as it's a straightforward implementation that offers a chance for them to differentiate their services. There's no reason to believe growth is going to slow significantly until a market reaches saturation and we could reasonably expect to see 200 million subscribers by 2015," concluded Bosnell.
Point Topic is the primary websource for DSL, FTTx, cable and other broadband supplier and user statistics, databases, information and reports.
Our data is in use worldwide amongst governments, commercial organisations and as general reference. A range of online services provides the most up-to-date, accurate and cost effective worldwide and UK specific broadband data sets available. See www.point-topic.com for more details.