The number of global subscribers to retail voice over IP (VoIP) services jumped by 83 per cent during 2005, research revealed today.
According to data from Point Topic, VoIP subscribers rose from 10.3 million at the beginning of 2005 to over 18.7 million by the end of the year.
"If you add in the PC-to-phone sector, Skype and the like, the number of global VoIP subscribers gets close to 24 million, which is about 65 per up on the year before," said John Bosnell, senior analyst at Point Topic.
Japan, France and the US continue to dominate the VoIP market in terms of subscriber numbers.
But other European nations, notably Germany, The Netherlands and Norway, began to see a significant number of VoIP subscribers by the end of 2005, and many of these markets were reporting strong growth for early 2006.
"Although Japan has the highest number of VoIP subscribers at the moment, current growth rates are slowing and there are other markets coming up," said Bosnell. "The US is very strong and France is the leader in Europe by some distance."
Point Topic estimated the number of Skype users based on reported results for the fourth quarter of 2005, suggesting revenues of $28.4m.
This would equate to an average of 4.73 million subscribers paying $2 per month during the three months of the quarter.
"There are plenty of markets with plenty of room for growth. Japan, France and the US have proven that consumers are happy to use these services, particularly if they see themselves saving money. The remaining barriers are consumer inertia and local regulations," said Bosnell.
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