January 7, 2005
So where will service providers make money if prices in the US are eroding so quickly? The answer is elsewhere, which is why companies like Vonage are launching VoIP service in the UK
. While the media (myself included) obsesses endlessly about who will win the VoIP service wars it is obvious we are experiencing global myopia when we don't consider the ramifications of the arbitrage opportunity where telephony rates orders of magnitudes higher than in the states.If my entry yesterday Triple Play to Quadruple Play: 92% of us Want a Single Bill!
is accurate, and greater than 50% of the US population opts for a single provider of voice, video and data, then how will the market play out? Either every VoIP service provider will have to provide video and data or there will have to be agreements between providers allowing them to easily sell each other's services.This latter example is not far off from what is happening with agreements between SBC and Dish Network
. Here is an excerpt from the release worth reading:";The SBC home entertainment service will bring together many of the features that consumers want most, including TV programming, video on demand and Internet content and services, in a way that competitors and cable TV providers can't match,"; said Ed Cholerton, chief executive officer of the newly formed SBC Media Solutions LLC and vice president of SBC DSL. ";It allows quick delivery of a complete, personalized and seamless entertainment and communications service to our customers while SBC companies build a fiber network. It is another important milestone in the SBC 'grand slam' strategy of leadership in landline voice, wireless, broadband Internet and video services."; Agreements like the above are for the short term... The future for SBC and others seems to be IPTV
and it makes logical sense for carriers to stream video over IP the way voice travels. How many pipes do we need anyway? (well that is until your Linksys router fails and needs replacement -- a bi-annual ritual in the Tehrani household.)But getting back to my point, VoIP service providers in the states will eventually need partnerships to deliver video and data if possible and they will likely resell Sprint wireless service for now to make it a quadruple play. Will other wireless carriers resell their networks as well? I would say yes, they will all do this at some point but Verizon Wireless, the company with the best network will likely be last to resell and their entry into the market will be accelerated if WiFi telephony and/or WiMAX telephony becomes a serious threat.So to tie this all up, VoIP service in the states is slowly evolving to the triple and then quadruple play when you add in wireless. Outside the country, VoIP alone will suffice for a much longer time (depending on the country). So in a nutshell the VoIP opportunity is more financially rewarding and easier outside the US.