Voice over IP 2.0: an analysis of limits and potential of IP2IP telecommunication

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Sarfati, Gilberto
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Internet Telephony (VoIP) is changing the telecommunication industry. Oftentimes free, VoIP is becoming more and more popular amongst users. Large software companies have entered the market and heavily invest into it. In 2011, for instance, Microsoft bought Skype for 8.5bn USD. This trend increasingly impacts the incumbent telecommunication operators. They see their main source of revenue – classic telephony – under siege and disappear. The thesis at hand develops a most-likely scenario in order to determine how VoIP is evolving further and it predicts, based on a ten-year forecast, the impact it will have on the players in the telecommunication industry.The paper presents a model combining Rogers’ diffusion and Christensen’s innovation research. The model has the goal of explaining the past evolution of VoIP and to isolate the factors that determine the further diffusion of the innovation. Interviews with industry experts serve to assess how the identified factors are evolving.Two propositions are offered. First, VoIP operators are becoming more important in international, corporate, and mobile telephony. End-to-end VoIP (IP2IP) will exhibit strong growth rates and increasingly cannibalize the telephony revenues of the classic operators. Second, fix-net telephony in SMEs and at home will continue to be dominated by the incumbents. Yet, as prices for telephony fall towards zero also they will implement IP2IP in order to save costs. By 2022, up to 90% of the calls will be IP2IP. The author recommends the incumbents and VoIP operators to proactively face the change, to rethink their business strategies, and to even be open for cooperation.

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