Retail VoIP Subscribers Increase By 83% During 2005

The number of subscribers to retail voice over IP (VoIP) services climbed by 83 percent during 2005, from 10.3 million at the beginning of 2005 to more than 18.7 million subscribers worldwide.
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Retail VoIP Subscribers Increase By 83% During 2005

Aug 17, 2006 10:50 AM

The number of subscribers to retail voice over IP (VoIP) services climbed by 83 percent during 2005, from 10.3 million at the beginning of 2005 to more than 18.7 million subscribers worldwide by the end of the year, according to the latest report, IP Telephony, from Point Topic.

"If you then add in the PC-to-phone sector, Skype, and the like, then the number of global VoIP subscribers gets close to 24 million," says John Bosnell, Senior Analyst at Point Topic, "which is about 65 percent up on the year before."

Japan, France, and the United States continue to dominate the VoIP market in terms of subscriber numbers. But other European nations, notably Germany, the Netherlands, and Norway began to see a significant number of VoIP subscribers by the end of 2005 and many of these markets were reporting strong growth for early 2006.

"Although Japan has the highest number of VoIP subscribers at the moment current growth rates are slowing and there are other markets coming up," Bosnell adds. "The United States is very strong and France is the leader in Europe by some distance."

"The retail VoIP market in China has yet to develop, however," continues Bosnell. "There are government restrictions and some observers think fixed line revenues are being dented which may affect the regulatory environment there."

Point Topic has estimated the number of Skype users, based on reported results for Q4 2005. These reported revenues of $28.4 million, which would equate to an average of 4.73 million subscribers paying $2 per month during the three months of the quarter. This is of course an assumption, but gives an idea of how many regular paying customers (or ‘paying-customer-equivalents’) Skype has.

"There are plenty of markets with plenty of room for growth. Japan, France and the US have proven that consumers are happy to use these services, particularly if they see themselves saving money. The remaining barriers are consumer inertia and local regulations," Bosnell concludes.

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