There might be as many as 640 million mobile VoIP clients in use by 2016, but most will be voice apps used in conjunction with other social media, gaming or applications, according to Juniper Research.
Mobile VoIP clients downloaded to the smart phone will account for 80 percent of the 640 million mobile VoIP accounts in use by the end of 2016.
Mobile VoIP application providers are expected to seek alliances with social media, gaming and software partners, Juniper Research says.
There are some important implications. As has been predicted for some time, the role of voice within the broader communications market will change. Where "calling" once was a stand-alone application, voice increasingly will be available as a feature of other applications. It is not immediately clear whether "voice as part of an application" will primarily augment or displace existing stand-alone calling.
Similar questions might be raised about video calling as well. To what extent does video calling represent incremental activity, and how much will represent a displacement of legacy calling? The number of mobile video calling users also will exceed 130 million by 2016, spurred by the launch of mobile video calling, Juniper Research predicts. But what usage patterns those users will exhibit is unclear.