Heavy Reading

The Future of VOIP: A Heavy Reading Service Provider Survey

This has been a watershed year for VOIP. Among developments that have occurred in the past six months alone:

Skype added mobile elements to its fast-growing Web-based telephony service, which has been downloaded by 52 million people – and the company was then acquired by eBay for $2.6 billion in September 2005.
Google launched Google Talk, an Internet/PC telephony service tied to its Gmail service.
Microsoft bought Teleo, a VOIP service that it intends to build into MSN Messenger.
Vonage approached 1 million customers and added new WiFi and video phones
European VOIP pioneer Free passed 1 million users in France for its flat-rate service.

Pursuit of VOIP cuts across all carrier types and sizes, from the world’s largest incumbent telcos to small regional competitors, and user interest in VOIP extends from multinational enterprises to cost-conscious consumers.

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There are many reasons for the emerging interest in VOIP. Catalysts include a desire to create more compelling and flexible services, to add nomadic or mobile features, or to extend the range of terminals offered. VOIP not only has a very wide appeal to a wide range of different types of service providers, but it also presents competitive threats that all providers must address.

On the face of it, therefore, it’s only a matter of time before VOIP sweeps away legacy telephony services. Yet many questions must still be resolved before VOIP can complete that sweep. There are threats and barriers as well as opportunities in this sector, and some of these are holding up wide-scale deployment of VOIP, especially as a true replacement for conventional circuit-switched phone services.

To assess the real-world attitudes among carriers, Heavy Reading conducted a major worldwide survey of network operators in August 2005. The Heavy Reading Service Provider VOIP Survey was created to gauge overall perceptions of VOIP and to gain insight into service rollout expectations for 2005 and beyond. Rather than collect statements issued through official corporate channels, the survey was targeted at professionals who work directly within service provider organizations, either as employees or consultants, to capture an inside view of carrier attitudes toward and plans for VOIP.


In total, 176 respondents representing more than 130 different service provider organizations participated in the survey, answering a series of questions focused on the following topics:

Current deployments of VOIP – traffic, equipment, and technical basis
Future deployments of VOIP – traffic, equipment, and technical basis
Catalysts and barriers to further deployment of VOIP
Target markets for VOIP
Attitudes to pricing and QOS

For a list of service providers represented in this survey, click here.

Report Scope and Structure

The Future of VOIP: A Heavy Reading Service Provider Survey is structured as follows:

Section I is an introduction to the report, with complete report key findings.

Section II provides key demographic data on survey participants, including the types of service providers included in the respondent base, the geographic regions represented by respondents, and the size and scope of included service providers.

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Section III presents and analyzes survey results regarding the current state of VOIP deployment and service provider plans for deployment in the future. This includes expectations for VOIP traffic, network and end-user equipment deployed, plans for specific VOIP features, and the technical basis for VOIP services.

Section IV presents and analyzes survey results on carrier attitudes to VOIP, focusing in particular on the key catalysts for and barriers to VOIP deployment. This section also examines service provider views on a range of specific VOIP-related topics: QOS requirements, enterprise outsourcing and hosting, and expectations about VOIP charging schemes.

Further details about the survey are presented in Appendix A.

The report is essential reading for a wide range of industry participants, including the following:

Telecom service providers: How does your VOIP deployment plan match up with competing operators? Are you falling behind in your efforts to migrate your access and core networks to VOIP service? How do your deployment and revenue expectations compare with those held by other network operators? Are you overly optimistic – or pessimistic – about VOIP's long-term impact on capex, opex, and revenues? What do your colleagues at other carriers see as the biggest remaining obstacles to deploying VOIP services?
VOIP hardware and software suppliers: Which types of VOIP-enabling products are network operators most likely to deploy? Which types of carriers have the most aggressive expansion plans regarding VOIP? What do network operators see as the main drawbacks to making a stronger commitment to VOIP, and what can you do to overcome those concerns? Is your marketing message addressing the actual needs of carrier customers?
Investors: How quickly and to what extent will network operators increase their deployment of VOIP? Which types of products are most likely to capture significant capital spending in this important telecom industry sector? What are the potential pitfalls that could affect growth plans of VOIP technology suppliers and service providers?

The Future of VOIP: A Heavy Reading Service Provider Survey is published in PDF format. Purchasers of the report also gain access to the full survey results for targeted analysis in a searchable database. The online database allows for segmentation of results by a range of factors, including service provider type, geographic location, and respondent job title.
PRICE: $2,950
Senior Analyst, Heavy Reading
Graham Finnie has been tracking the telecom industry for nearly two decades as a journalist, analyst, and consultant...
Click here for full list of included carriers
Full results of an exclusive, worldwide survey of 176 service provider professionals representing more than 130 different network operators
32 pages of survey analysis, including detailed breakouts of results by key demographic segments
Full access to a searchable online database of survey results for further targeted analysis
PRICE: $2,950
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