Mobile VoIP (mVoIP) is a sky rocketing service that is threatening carriers and customers of traditional mobile networks. With mVoIP, users can avoid the voice networks altogether and make their calls via an internet connection on a mobile device. The benefits of avoiding the use of precious data and minutes while not paying large long distance fees has become a top commodity for users.
A recent study by Juniper Research estimates that by the year 2017 nearly one billion people will be using the mobile VoIP service. While this number could change by that time, the results are very astounding and important to understand. VoIP is the most cost effective way of telecommunication for businesses and residences. Now, with the rise of mobile VoIP, users are realizing the same cost effective plans are available for making all of their personal calls as well. Not only are the services much cheaper, but there are many different options for users to choose from. Skype, perhaps the most recognizable name as well as Rebtel, netTALK and Magic Jack all offer users unique features that are either free or highly reduced rates than a regular carrier. While a mVoIP service is not completely free of its problems, users seem more willing to part with quality to find themselves paying much less.
Few limitations stand in the way of a total take over by mobile VoIP. For instance, it is still necessary for customers to be enrolled in a plan with a mobile carrier. The details can be confusing but this means that the customer does not necessarily need to have a calling plan if they are using mVoIP services. Simply, they would just need to download one of the VoIP apps that are available. However, due to roaming 3G and 4G networks, the connection might not always be available. Traditional landline VoIP services do allow connectivity at all times, but it is only a matter of time before the inevitable improvements of technology are in place to correct these problems.
Perhaps the largest problem being faced is the regulation of the services by many developing countries governments. In Guyana the use of VoIP is prohibited. The Oman government has made any type of VoIP service illegal and those who do use it face hefty fines and even jail time. India has made VoIP use legal from PC to PC inside or outside of the country. However, if a call from a PC is to regular phone, then it is not permitted. In South Korea, providers must be registered with the government before they can offer the service. However, the rates are generally metered and charged as opposed to the many providers whom offer flat rates.
Mobile carriers are forced to take notice of the growing popularity and use of VoIP and mobile VoIP services. In fact, some have already begun to offer certain VoIP services along with their standard packages. It is important for the carriers to realize that there may not be a way of beating their competition and that they should find ways to work together and merge ideologies. Mobile networks were once the pinnacle of portable communication, but the time might be coming where those networks will become obsolete. VoIP communication does not seem to be dwindling down as a fad anytime soon. In fact, it is only getting stronger with the increase of mVoIP activity from the general public. If the data predicted above is correct, it will be very interesting to see how the carriers plan to avoid a drift into irrelevancy and what their counter move(s) may be.