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Summary:

The mobile VoIP market is seen growing to 100 million users by 2012, according to the latest research from UK-based Juniper Research. Which means incumbent phone companies will soon be looking to buy their way into the space — good news for VoIP startups.

As my readers well know, I’ve long been a champion of mobile VoIP services, from Gizmo to Truphone to Nimbuz to Skype. I’ve used and at some point, liked them all, though lately I’m fixated on Skype, mostly because of how simply it works. I think it will be one of the winners of the mobile VoIP sweepstakes, a market expected to grow to 100 million users by 2012, according to Juniper Research.

According to a report released by the UK firm today titled “Mobile Voice Strategies: mVoIP Opportunities & Business Models,” a large portion of mobile VoIP traffic is going to run over Wi-Fi networks, thus diminishing the circuit switch market. It estimates that by 2015, VoIP traffic over Wi-Fi will account for about $5 billion in revenues.

As mobile VoIP continues to gain momentum, I expect to see phone companies — which have been fighting the mobile VoIP wave tooth and nail — start buying up startups in the space, many of which have built products that go beyond plain-vanilla calling plans. Nimbuzz, Truphone, iSkoot and others are all ripe for acquisition by the likes of major international mobile players. As to potential buyers, I think Vodafone, T-Mobile and AT&T will be among the first looking to cash in on the action.

  1. Om, on a related note I wanted to see if you’ve heard anything about a proper Skype client for Android (all Android phones, not just Verizon’s). Skype is a pretty big deal for me and it’s one of two apps I desperately want on the Evo 4G I’m playing with. Not having Skype could be a deal breaker for keeping it as my primary phone.

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    1. Raymond,

      I should find out soon — there is a Skype Lite client I am using on an Android phone and it works well for me but only over WiFi

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      1. Thanks Om! Skype Lite was pulled from Android Market. sniff sniff

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      2. Om, it looks like a real Skype client with video chat will be hitting Android Market in 2010. I want that and Tweetdeck on my Evo 4G now!!!

        http://wp.me/pFptN-24W

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    2. Dilip andrade Thursday, May 27, 2010

      If you aren’t on Verizon, I wouldn’t hold your breathe. Skype doesn’t have a partner in Canada. When I asked about Skype for Android in Canada I was told that they’re working on getting a Canadian partner.

      My guess is that they’ll initially only offer a client on a favoured service provider. If they go to other carriers my guess is that for now it’ll stay wifi only.

      If they roll out over 3G on the big platforms (iPhone, Android, Blackberry) they’ll crush the market. Having said that, I’m not holding my breath.

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    3. Hi Raymond,

      Tobias from Nimbuzz here – you can use Skype on all Android handsets right now with Nimbuzz. It is completely free and available now.

      More details here: http://usa.blog.nimbuzz.com/2010/05/20/skype-on-all-android-mobile-phones-with-nimbuzz-video

      Feel free to drop me a line anytime – tobias (at) nimbuzz (dot) com

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  2. Remember when Skype was going to work over 3G on the iPhone? Those were good times.

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    1. Dilip Andrade Saturday, May 29, 2010

      As of today, May 29, skype’s new iPhone client delivers on the 3G promise. Now to figure out what they’re talking about when they say “small fee”

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  3. [...] 100M Mobile VoIP Users by 2012 = a Fat & Happy Skype [...]

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  4. if mobile VOIP becomes a $5 billion industry than it will certainly not be the VOIP so many were expecting. the way i see it VOIP was supposed get rid of paid telephony and replace it with endpoint applications over a cheap dumb data pipe. it was not supposed to cost any more than what most people pay for an email account today.

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  5. According to my understanding Skype is partnering on the mobile market and unless they are in a partnership e.g. Verizon they are becoming less relevant.
    Instead of being the first at video for Android – Fring was the first yesterday (http://www.fring.com/blog/).
    Personally this is very disappointing. I as you OM was betting on them lately very much.

    Tal

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  6. [...] 100M Mobile VoIP Users by 2012 = a Fat & Happy Skype – Gigaom.comAs my readers well know, I ve long been a champion of mobile VoIP services, from Gizmo to Truphone to Nimbuz to Skype. I ve used and at some point, liked them all, though lately I m fixated on Skype, mostly because of how simply it works. I [...]

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  7. [...] 100M Mobile VoIP Users by 2012 = a Fat & Happy Skype [...]

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  8. I’m not sure that VoIP is are useful for smartphones. We had many trouble with VoIP in our company, but we’ll see.

    Best regards – Daniel

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  9. [...] U.S., which will account for 135 billion mobile VoIP minutes by 2015. Juniper recently forecasted that there will be 100 million mobile VoIP users by 2012. “There are several flavours of mobile VoIP,” says Anthony Cox, Senior Analyst at [...]

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  10. [...] for free. According to Juniper Research, there will be 100 million mobile VoIP users by 2012 and 471 billion mobile VoIP minutes by 2015. Related ResearchWhy Facebook “Groups” Matters Report: The Rise of Mobile Health [...]

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