By 2020, mobile voice services sold as part of fourth generation Long Term Evolution services will generate about $100 billion in revenue, according to Juniper Research estimates. By that time, over the top voice services on 4G networks will generate about $10 billion, up from about $2 billion at present.
Most of that revenue--about $4.4 billion--will be earned in China and northeast Asia.
If those projections prove correct, we can reasonably conclude that mobile operator efforts to enter the OTT voice arena have been modest successes at best. By about 2018, mobile revenue globally will be about $816 billion, according to Spirent.
Carrier voice still will represent about 48 percent of total revenue at that point, or about $392 billion. OTT VoIP revenues globally might be about $25 billion by 2018, according to Spirent.
The larger trend is simply the diminution of voice revenues, down 30 percent to 50 percent in Western European markets since about 2010, for example. In fact, Juniper Research says, voice revenues peaked in 2005 in Japan, and by 2008 in most developed countries.
In many cases mobile carrier call volumes actually have grown, however, as traffic shifts off the fixed network to mobile and as competitive pressures force mobile operators to provide bigger voice usage allowances.
Most mobile VoIP services now are offered as a free or low cost service, only a small minority of OTT players had generated a significant revenues from the service.
The more successful service providers have indirect revenue models.
The point is that, so far, few service or app providers have been largely unable to create a significant mobile VoIP revenue stream, and most of the successes rely on indirect monetization.