Mobile network providers are facing increasingly stiff competition from the VoIP market, as more and more users across the world are turning to network-based services for their voice calls.
This is clearly going to be taking a chunk of profit away from companies which have traditionally allowed business mobile users to communicate over voice networks, although the extent of the impact remains to be seen.
With affordable, flexible VoIP integrated into the office environment and also available on the move, unified communications will enter the next generation.
Part of the reason for the rise in mobile VoIP is that there are simply more ways to connect a contemporary smartphone to a high speed network. Wi-Fi hotspots are widely available in densely populated areas, while the UK is soon to see its first high speed LTE network make an appearance, which will improve the quality of the audio and lessen the frequency of dropped VoIP calls.
Wi-Fi poses the biggest threat for traditional mobile network providers, because it means that people will not be harnessing their networks at all when they want to communicate.
For business mobile manufacturers, the growth of VoIP is going to be a welcome thing, since users are now choosing handsets based on the types of VoIP apps and integrated web-based voice services which are on offer straight out of the box. In the past, it has been necessary for international business travellers to put up with inflated voice rates when overseas, or to tackle the issue by using a domestic handset or SIM card, if they are particularly well prepared.
In the modern era, it is easy for a business user to take their smartphone with them on a trip, connect it to an available Wi-Fi network at their destination and then make VoIP calls, without incurring any cost whatsoever.