VoLTE subscribers to reach 8 million from 12 networks in 2013: Infonetics

Infonetics forecasts 12 commercial VoLTE networks and 8 million VoLTE subscribers in 2013, with about three-quarters from in Asia Pacific.

The Asian telecom market is seeing the success of SK Telecom’s VoLTE adoption — 3.6 million subscribers in April 2013.

LG U+ in South Korea and MetroPCS in the United States are the other aggressive players in the VoLTE market. India’s Reliance Jio Infocomm, the only pan-India 4G service provider, plans to VoLTE services using the TD-LTE technologies.

The number of VoLTE (Voice-over LTE) subscribers is expected to grow at 145 percent CAGR from 2012 to 2017.

Combined, over-the-top mobile VoIP and VoLTE services are expected to become a $16 billion business by 2017.

While Skype dominates the over-the-top mobile VoIP space, the market is seeing other applications such as Fring, KakaoTalk, Line, Nimbuzz, WeChat and Viber gain in strength.

Microsoft/Skype had roughly 40 percent of all active users of OTT mobile VoIP services in 2012.

VoLTE-enabled handsets

Meanwhile, ARCchart forecasts that the number of devices supporting VoLTE will ramp up significantly over the coming years, spurred by competition against OTT providers.

By 2016, it expects a total installed base of over 74 million VoLTE-enabled handsets will be present in the market.

IMS growth

In a 7 March 2013 note, Dell’Oro Group said the Carrier IP telephony market revenues declined 5 percent versus the year-ago period.  IMS sales were driven by operator capital spending on current as well as planned launches of the new VoLTE service.

“VoLTE is creating both opportunities and disruption in equipment spending patterns. We expect a significant increase in VoLTE services in 2013, with as many as twenty operators carrying native Internet Protocol voice from handsets by year-end,” said analyst Chris DePuy.

While IMS and Wireless Application Server spending accelerated in 2012, Dell’Oro Group expects further spending will be stimulated by the availability of VoLTE-capable handsets in the next several months.

The overall Carrier IP Telephony market, which includes devices used to serve both circuit switched subscribers and VoIP subscribers, reached revenues of under $2 billion.

OTT growth

Diane Myers, Infonetics Research’s principal analyst for VoIP, UC and IMS, said: “Most OTT mVoIP providers are making very little money per user. In 2012, the average revenue per user was $7.13 annually. Since this alone is an unsustainable business model, most providers are turning to advertising, third-party apps and wholesale arrangements with traditional operators.”

The number of global OTT mobile VoIP subscribers shot up more than 550 percent in 2012, to over 640 million, and is expected to approach the 1 billion mark in 2013.

Baburajan K
[email protected]