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VoIP in the Future
With all of the advancements in cell phone technology, will there still be a place in the future for VoIP?
According to a survey conducted by Infonetics Research, the VoIP industry saw an increase in growth of about 9% from 2011 to 2012, suggesting that the technology is far from being outdated. According to the survey, most of the growth was within the Session Initiation Protocol (SIP) industry. While the SIP industry saw 83% increases in sales, Private Branch Exchanges (PBX) sales remained relatively unchanged.
Cell phones are actually greatly responsible for these increases. Users can now access VoIP calling with their cell phones. As data plans are rapidly replacing “per minute” calling, VoIP calling is the logical, and less expensive choice.
The number of mobile VoIP customers is increasing dramatically. Juniper Research estimates that the customer base could be over 1 billion users by 2017. This is a clear indication that telecommunications is still evolving. Customers and VoIP professionals will be seeing many changes to the industry over the next few years.
The Evolution of VoIP
So what does the telecommunications industry have in store? And how will this affect VoIP in the future?
There are currently a lot of major changes in development behind the scenes. These changes are sure to have a huge impact on the industry and the future of VoIP. Much of the internal telecommunications network in the U.S. is already using multiple VoIP switches. This information is not made public, however.
People don’t realize that much of the telecommunications network they use every day depends on VoIP. Legislators are working towards completely shutting down the public switched telephone network (PSTN). The traditional phone system is outdated and not as efficient as the VoIP system. The number of people still on the traditional PSTN system is becoming less and less every day.
Because most people are already dependent on the VoIP system or a cell phone, the need for traditional phone systems is rapidly becoming obsolete. Additionally, VoIP systems are much cheaper to operate, that is why telephone costs, especially long distance charges, have become less expensive than they were a few decades ago.
The FCC must evaluate the proper status of VoIP as a telecommunications service. Up until now, VoIP has mainly been considered an information service. However, the service actually falls somewhere between an information and telecom service. The way the FCC regulating measures currently stand, they are too narrow and limiting to be applied to VoIP services.
Only logical choice for the FCC would be to apply specialized rules for analog, cell phone and VoIP service providers so that each service could be handled in a unique way. These new measures would help to prevent larger companies from creating a monopoly, and ensure that customers are treated fairly.
What’s Next for VoIP
It’s clear that the world of telecom is changing rapidly, and that makes it difficult to predict what to expect. Service providers are all racing to provide customers with the newest and best technology. However, there are some changes coming up that are quite apparent.
In upcoming years, it seems very possible that VoIP providers are going to put more focus on their mobile applications. Considering that VoIP has almost completely replaced the traditional analog telephone systems, it seems logical that the next step would be to target cell phone providers.
People are already able to download a variety of VoIP apps, either as a free, independent app or as part of their monthly service plan. These apps allow them to make free or very inexpensive calls as long they have access to the internet. This means that anywhere you can access your private 3G or 4G internet connection, or a public WiFi connection, you use the VoIP app to make calls for free. This way you don’t have to use up your monthly minutes. And using WiFi means you won’t have any data charges, either.
There are many advocates for improving free, public WiFi access nation wide. But, naturally the big internet and telecom providers are staunchly opposed as this move would have a significant impact on their bottom line.
Public demand for more hot spots is growing stronger every day. Governments are having a difficult time ignoring these pleas, so it does seem likely that this will soon become a reality. However, Juniper Research predicts that if this does happen, voice data providers are sure to find other ways of monetizing mobile apps. One such way may be putting more limitations on free VoIP calling.
In the immediate future, it seems very likely that VoIP providers will put more effort into their SIP service. Most providers are now focusing mostly on hosted services, but if the sales of SIP services continues on its current path, providers will likely move their focus in that direction.
Whatever changes are in works, one thing is quite certain, within a few years we could see the entire internal network operated by VoIP. This will be a good thing for both customers and providers.