Annual mobile VoIP traffic is forecast to double each year between 2010 and 2015, according to Juniper Research.
Global mVoIP traffic on 3G and 4G networks is expected to rise from 15 billion minutes in 2010 to 470.6 billion by 2015, with the US forecast to account for 29% of the pie by the end of end-2015.
Juniper expects mVoIP traffic to increase particularly in developed markets, due to the increasing ubiquity of 3G networks.
Senior analyst Anthony Cox says mVoIP is reaching the top of the agenda for mobile operators, pointing to the recent launch of Skype over 3G networks and Skype’s deal with US operator Verizon earlier this year.
However, operator sentiment towards mVoIP varies.
“Even though a major operator, 3UK, touts the benefits of mobile VoIP, it will take some time for many operators, particularly in emerging markets, to accept it, since it represents loss of control over their own networks,” says Cox.
He says that operators most fear losing traffic to Wi-Fi networks. “Wi-Fi mobile VoIP is potentially the most damaging of all VoIP traffic as it bypasses the mobile networks altogether.”
Juniper forecasts that mVoIP over Wi-Fi will cost operators $5 billion globally by 2015.
Ultimately, competitive and regulatory pressure will force traditional operators in developed markets to increasingly forge partnerships with VoIP providers, says Juniper.
It predicts that circuit switched voice services will continue to diminish over the next five years, though the rate of decline is not forecast to accelerate.