As with all technology - its what it does for us and not what it is that matters. In an effort to focus on what it does, this month we will be examining mobile VoIP - or voice over Internet protocol. In this installment, we’ll look at what Mobile VoIP is and a provide a quick overview of the industry and environment. Future installments will review how you can use mobile VoIP on your devices.
What it is:
Mobile VoIP is simply VoIP access via a mobile device. The power of VoIP is that it allows inexpensive or even free calls to be made over the internet. Now with Mobile VoIP, you can take the freedom and flexibility of VoIP with you wherever you go. There are numerous VoIP clients for mobile devices including ones from Skype, fring, Gizmo and Truphone. There are many other VoIP providers, but all of these mentioned have clients for smartphones and/or Internet Tablets. Four technologies are required for mobile VoIP: a device, client software, a wireless network and a VoIP service.
Industry and Environment:
VoIP itself first came on the market in the early 1970’s (pre-history I know ;-). According to VoIP Monitor, revenue in the total VOIP industry in the US is set to grow by 24.3% in 2008 to $3.19 billion. Mobile VoIP is estimated to grow to US$12 billion by 2010 in Europe alone. Skype is perhaps the best known VoIP client and last year they reported half a billion downloads and this year they are approaching a billion downloads
Benefits of Mobile VoIP:
The big benefit is that VoIP saves you significant $ca-ching$. Costs saving come primarily by reducing or eliminating roaming rates and fees, as well as high fees for international calls. The best value for folks who live in the US (where most plans allow you to roam across the country) is using VoIP when traveling outside of the country or for making international calls. In Europe, where crossing a border can be minutes away and mean the difference between included coverage and roaming rates, mobile VoIP is even more popular.
In short, mobile VoIP is an easy, effective and inexpensive way to stay in touch when you are roaming or making international calls.