Mo­bile VoIP Any­time Soon?

VoLTE may hold the key to wide-scale IP-fi­ca­tion of en­ter­prise voice and give it the agility and scal­a­bil­ity it has long needed


Tra­di­tion­ally, wire­line has formed the sta­ple part of en­ter­prise voice ser­vices. While IP-fi­ca­tion of wire­line data has hap­pened to a large ex­tent, that of voice is yet to be­come a ubiq­ui­tous re­al­ity. How­ever, with the 4G-led IP-fi­ca­tion of voice on the hori­zon, a new trend could pos­si­bly be­gin—one where mo­bile for­mally gets to play a big­ger part in en­ter­prise voice.

Un­til that hap­pens, how­ever, a com­bi­na­tion of fixed-line tele­phony and over-the-top (OTT) voice ser­vices such as Skype as well as var­i­ous VoIP ser­vices con­tinue to dom­i­nate the land­scape.

Mean­while, the over­all fixed line sub­scriber base in In­dia, com­pris­ing both busi­ness and res­i­den­tial sub­scrip­tions, con­tin­ued to de­cline. Ac­cord­ing to the lat­est Per­for­mance In­di­ca­tor Re­port by Tele­com Reg­u­la­tory Au­thor­ity of In­dia (TRAI), the wire­line sub­scriber base de­clined from 27.41 mil­lion at the end of Septem­ber 2014 to 25.95 mil­lion at the end of Septem­ber 2015, reg­is­ter­ing a year-on-year de­cline of 5.3 per­cent.

Ma­jor Play­ers

State-run op­er­a­tor Bharat San­char Nigam Limited (BSNL), which con­tin­ues to be the mar­ket leader, saw the steep­est churn – from 17.37 mil­lion sub­scribers in Septem­ber 2014, it ended up hav­ing 15.65 mil­lion sub­scribers by the close of Septem­ber 2015, which marked a de­cline of close to 10 per­cent. The other state-owned op­er­a­tor MTNL man­aged to hold ground at 3.53 mil­lion. Nev­er­the­less, pri­vate op­er­a­tors like Air­tel and Tata showed mar­ginal im­prove­ments, clos­ing the quar­ter at 3.52 mil­lion and 1.71 mil­lion sub­scribers, re­spec­tively. Other op­er­a­tors are Re­liance, Tata, Quad­rant, Sis­tema and Voda­fone.

That, how­ever, doesn’t seem to have di­min­ished the long-term po­ten­tial of the mar­ket or has de­terred play­ers from ex­pand­ing their net­works. In fact, the new­est en­trant to the fixed-line club, Voda­fone, has been quite fo­cused on

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