4G Networks Spell Hope for Mobile VOIP

Driven by the advent of 4G networks, in 10 years more than half of all mobile voice traffic will be carried end-to-end using VOIP, predicts Gartner.

The conditions for the expansion of mobile voice over IP have yet to materialize and are not likely to become right for at least five years and perhaps as long as eight years. When they do, though, network-based mobile carriers face the real prospect of losing a major slice of their voice traffic.
"Mass-scale adoption of end-to-end mobile VOIP calling will not happen until fourth-generation (4G) networks are fully implemented in 2017," Tole Hart, research director at Gartner, said in a May 5 report. "Once the basic market conditions are in place, transition to mobile portal VOIP should be fairly rapid because of the inherent convenience and end-user cost savings."
With the advent of 4G networks, Gartner is predicting that within 10 years, 30 percent of mobile voice traffic will be carried by third-party portals such as Google, Facebook or Yahoo that will adopt wireless VOIP services. They will encounter competition from wireless carriers that offer circuit and VOIP voice and data services, and resellers and mobile virtual network operators that also offer services off the carrier networks.
According to Gartner, this scenario will result in text messaging and e-mail as the biggest competitors to mobile VOIP as users continue to migrate to these types of communication because of their nonintrusive nature.
"Ten years from now, more than half of mobile voice traffic will be carried end-to-end using VOIP," predicted Akshay Sharma, research director at Gartner. "Carriers will adopt voice services because of the increased capacity and reduced cost of delivering voice over 4G networks. Third parties will adopt a voice option for their communications hub."
Third parties such as Skype, Truphone and fring, which carry VOIP traffic using a mobile phone, currently offer access to voice services through Wi-Fi connections or a carrier's wireless voice services because of the inconsistencies of voice services over 3G data networks.
If the rollout of 4G networks is hampered, all bets are off, Gartner analysts warned. Among the chief threats to the 4G rollout include carriers cutting back because of the economic situation or deciding to put 4G services in only large metropolitan areas.