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internet telephony

 

Twenty-four million pay for VoIP

Twenty-four million pay for VoIP

Twenty-four million people worldwide pay to use retail voice over IP (VoIP) services, new research has shown.

The number of retail VoIP subscribers jumped more than 80 per cent to 18.7 million during 2005 - or 24 million if you add users of PC-to-phone services such as Skype, according to Point Topic's IP Telephony report.

Based on reported revenues, the analyst estimates that one-sixth of VoIP subscribers used Skype in the fourth quarter of 2005.

The Asia-Pacific region has the largest share of VoIP users but the fastest growth is seen in Europe and the US.

The number of VoIP subscribers in Europe grew nearly threefold to 5.3 million during 2005 and is expected to pick up even more in 2006.

France has the highest VoIP adoption in Europe with 2.8 million paying subscribers, led by new carriers Free and neuf selling easy-to-use VoIP services - though incumbent France Telecom's VoIP push has also proved fruitful as it raised subscriber levels more than fivefold in 2005.

In the UK, BT's VoIP offering had "relatively few" subscribers by the end of 2005 but was picking up in early 2006, said the analyst.

One key success in the US, according to Point Topic, is marketing the service not as 'VoIP' but describing it in simple terms customers understand such as 'digital telephone'.

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