VoIP blogs have been filled with optimism lately about the prospects of mobile VoIP. Om Malik reports about this:
But two recent statements by carriers from different parts of the world are making me wonder if the mobile phone companies are softening their stance on mobile VoIP. Last week, Verizon went out of its way to highlight the fact that it had tested VoIP calling on its new 4G wireless network. (The other 4G wireless company, Clearwire, has warmed up to VoIP as well.)
His own analysis on the matter?
This attitude shift is good for mobile VoIP startups such as Truphone and Fring.
While this may be true, I believe it may only be viable in the short run. Once Mobile VoIP becomes interesting enough, carriers will simply provide their own solutions – some will be based on mobile VoIP startups, but I fear that most will be based on their own solutions or by employing solutions from larger enterprises such as Ericsson, Huawei, Alcatel-Lucent and Nokia Siemens.
And the way to do that might end up being IMS.
While I have been contemplating for the past year if IMS is actually going to make it to market, or is it going to end up as hype that just faded away, there seems to be some real progress in the IMS area. Ravi Shankar gives the highlights of a new Infonetics Research Survey:
According to Infonetics Research Survey IMS Plans: Global Service Provider Survey, IMS technology is advancing from early-stage services to the next phase. With the introduction of IMS, there will be a fundamental shift from plain vanilla voice calling to rich multimedia calling( Video, Picture, message sharing ). Top three business drivers for deploying IMS include Opportunity to offer converged services, Availability of new applications/services and Network consolidation.
While this does spell some good news to Mobile VoIP as a service, it also paints a complicated future for mobile VoIP startups. It seems like their alternatives to success have been reduced to being purchased by carriers instead of trying to grow on their own.
IMS simply snuffs out the need for partisan mobile VoIP solutions and returns the power to the operators.
It will be interesting to see how this will play out.