Microsoft roars into VoIP market Microsoft is accelerating its business IP telephony plans with the acquisition of software firm
media-streams.com. The move follows similar acquisitions by Microsoft and its competitors in the consumer market, and bolsters a major strategic shift by Microsoft into online services - the so-called "Live Software" programme introduced earlier this week.
Microsoft and several other large IT players announced significant Voice over IP (VoIP) plans aimed at consumers over the summer. The string of deals showed that big companies such as AOL, Google, Microsoft, Yahoo and eBay believe consumer VoIP is a technology whose time has come.
Global VoIP Market Takes Hold VoIP rose from 10.3 million to 18.7 million subscribers worldwide through the course of 2005. This 83 percent growth is detailed a report from Point Topic.
Combined, the number of people paying for PC-to-phone calls (4.7 million) and retail VoIP (telephone-to-telephone) was close to 24 million in 2005. The previous year, the contingent was 14.4 million users. Japan, France, and the U.S. are the dominant VoIP markets, though Germany, the Netherlands, Norway and other European countries reported strong growth early this year.
The U.S. market grew from 1.4 million subscribers at the end of 2004 to 4.6 million in Q4 2005, more than doubling in size. Pure-play provider Vonage continues to be the largest VoIP service carrier, though cable companies represent a collective threat. Time Warner alone added 900,000 customers in 2005. Domestically, VoIP providers tend to offer their products under the label "digital telephone" rather than VoIP.
Vonage Dominates Home VoIP Market Few American households use voice-over-Internet Protocol (VoIP) services as their home phone but adoption is growing-
up 20% since June 2005- and most users are satisfied with their service. About 3.9 million U.S. households used VoIP as home-phone service in January 2006, according to a study released Tuesday by Telephia, a market research firm. That accounts for about 3.5% of U.S. households, up from 2.9% using VoIP in June 2005. However, the survey didn't include digital-phone offerings from cable companies like Comcast (nasdaq: CMCSA - news - people ) and Time Warner (nyse: TWX - news - people ), which hawk "triple-play" packages of television, high-speed data and phone service.
Broadcom Takes Aim at Consumer VoIP Market Broadcom Corporation, a global leader in semiconductors for wired and wireless communications, today announced two new voice over Internet protocol (VoIP) devices for consumer applications at the Spring 2006 VON Conference and Expo, March 15th to 17th at the San Jose Convention Center. The two new devices, a terminal adapter (TA) router chip and a low cost IP phone chip, can be used as standalone VoIP processors to enable leading OEMs and ODMs to create feature-rich and cost-effective TA routers or desktop IP phones for the home or small office. They can also be paired with market-leading Broadcom 54g? Wi-Fi technology to create wireless versions of the same products.
The new devices expand Broadcom's existing IP phone product portfolio, which includes Wi-Fi phone and Wi-Fi video phone platforms, voice-enabled cable and DSL modems, and Ethernet IP phones, to make the Broadcom consumer VoIP offering second to none in the industry.
Cable boosts its VoIP market share
More Americans are looking to the Internet for their telephone service. Research firm TeleGeography reported that U.S. subscribers to Internet-based telephone services grew 21 percent to 6.9 million in the second quarter that ended in June.
Cable TV companies expanded their lead in market share compared with Vonage Holdings Corp. and other purely Internet phone service providers.
The latest tally on the market for Voice over Internet Protocol, better known as VoIP, marks a 153 percent increase compared with mid-2005. But the second-quarter gain was slightly slower than in the first quarter, when it grew by 28 percent, TeleGeography said.
BT pokes toe into VoIP market BT has become the first UK telco to offer a mass-market consumer voice over IP (VoIP) service.
Its Broadband Voice package, launched on Tuesday, is primarily targeted at NTL and Telewest customers but will work just as well with an ADSL connection.
BT says that it is a ground-breaking product that will let cable customers save money on voice calls, but rivals have dismissed Broadband Voice as little more than a second phone line.
Broadband Voice consists of a box that plugs into an Ethernet router, modem or cable set-top box and transmits voice traffic over the Internet. It will cost £60, but will be free to anyone signing up before the end of March 2004.
Users will be charged £7.50 rental per month, plus 3p per minute for daytime landline calls with a minimum charge of 5p. Mobile calls will be significantly more, varying between operators. Evening and weekend calls will be free for the first hour, and 1p per minute afterwards.
VoIP Market To Hit $4 Billion By 2010 The North American voice over IP (VoIP) is on the brink of a phenomenal growth spurt over the next six years, driven by the pervasiveness of broadband Internet access and the availability of low-cost VoIP services, according to Frost & Sulllivan.
According to the firm's newly-released North American Residential VoIP Markets report, the consumer VoIP market revenues will reach $4.07 billion in 2010, up more than 1300% over $295.1 million last year. Moreover, Frost & Sulllivan expects the entry of non-traditional telecommunications companies, including cable operators, Internet service provider (ISP), and non-telecom companies into the voice market to drive the number of North American VoIP lines up to 18 million from 1.5 million in the same period.
Not surprisingly, incumbent local exchange carriers (ILECs) tend to view VoIP as a threat to their market share and revenue. According to Frost & Sullivan, ILECs have lost 15 million access lines to their non-traditional competitors, though many of these were data lines and second residential lines.
Market Segments In line with projections of incredible growth over the next few years, an impressive set of new gateways increase by an order of magnitude - tenfold, or more - the capacities of today's VOIP gateways for carrier and service-provider networks.
And a whole new class of product is about to emerge, too. These are VOIP-based switches, designed to augment, and eventually supplant, today's decades-old telephone central-office switches. These have been called "hybrid" switches, reflecting their mixed support for circuit switching and IP packet handling.
Clearly VOIP technology is advancing. Only a few years ago voice-over-IP was a plaything for Internet nerds. Then, by its inclusion in such popular applications as Microsoft's NetMeeting, VOIP began to achieve legitimacy. Voice quality of early implementations lagged noticeably behind that of the switched phone network, but ongoing improvement of the hardware and software that handles the conversion of real-time voice to and from IP packets began to quickly close the gap.
China to open up VoIP market? Speculation is growing that China could be about to relax restrictions on its voice over IP (VoIP) market.
A report last week in The Beijing News said the Chinese government has granted a VoIP licence to a southern Chinese telecoms company for a pilot programme, and telecom carriers and virtual network operators (VNO) will be allowed to apply for the licences starting in 2007.
So far Chinese telecoms operators that have received government approval to trial VoIP services declined to do so because they believed it would threaten their fixed-line services revenues, according to the newspaper.
VoIP gateway market The global service provider VoIP gateway market is expected to reach $985.7m by 2009, compared with $165.3m in 2003, newly published research has predicted.
According to the latest study from Research and Markets, the VoIP gateway market will grow at a steady rate over the next four years as firms replace digital proprietary voice switching systems with converged IP technology.
The report noted that VoIP can be implemented in two ways: calls can originate from the traditional Time Division Multiplexing (TDM) circuit switched technology, or from an internet protocol router.
It goes on to point out that IP to TDM and TDM to IP VoIP are very different. "These fundamental differences in technology referred to by the same term (VoIP) have confused the market, with distinctly different products being positioned as VoIP
solutions. In the near term, routers will be the bases for originating VoIP calls implementing IP to TDM. IP to TDM will quickly become the entire market.