Internet calling and communication is getting increasingly popular, according to a new report from research firm Point Topic. The report found that voice over Internet protocol (VoIP) now has more than 120 million subscribers globally.
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The report, specifically, looked at fixed line VoIP services and predicted that it would turn into a $40 billion a year market by 2015. Oliver Johnson, the CEO of Point Topic, told us that this was a "very cautious projection" and that "it could be much higher."
During 2010, the global growth of VoIP was 12.6 percent. Although this number seems slightly low, Johnson told us that it was promising. He believes the real growth is coming in the next few years, but that the trends that this data illustrates are still important to understand. For example, also in 2010, over 50 percent of telephone traffic in France was over some form of VoIP service.
He credits the growth to technological advances but said that it is causing concern for traditional phone services.
"It's scaring the bejesus out of the traditional telephone processing... they're seeing their revenues being cannibalized," he said.
"It's not going to be an empty marketplace," he also pointed out. "Telephones have existed for over 100 years and to actually start to capture some of that market is quite difficult."
In spite of the positive signs for growth, Johnson said that the VoIP market still faced multiple challenges. While there are technical and mobile challenges, he thinks the biggest challenge will be in regards to regulation.
"The more that the incumbents feel a threat or start to see their revenues challenged, the more interest they will have in persuading lawmakers in putting their case, as forcefully as they have in other instances, I'm sure, from blocking this sort of service," he explained.
Even though this report focused on fixed line telephone services, Johnson told us that the most growth and revenue would come in Internet telephony services such as Skype.