The biggest markets for the expanding penetration of VoIP services exist in the Eastern Hemisphere. The Herald Online recently posted an article which compiled data from the research groups iResearch Consulting and Arbitron Mobile. The report shows that some of the largest consumers of VoIP in the world are currently Japan and Indonesia.
The research was conducted through panels set-up by Arbitron Mobile in North America, Europe and Asia, with iResearch collecting data from China. Though Skype has deep market penetration in the West, the mobile VoIP app Line is utilized by 64.2% of Japanese VoIP users and 27.6% of Indonesian Users. Indonesia, the market with the second highest consumption of VoIP, nearly doubles the usage figures of Germany, the next highest consumer of VoIP services, where Skype dominates the market with 17.1% of overall VoIP usage.
Japan uses an extraordinary amount of VoIP services when compared to other nations surveyed. On average, some 386.5 minutes are spent per capita every month utilizing VoIP services. This nearly triples Indonesia, with an average 134.9 minutes per month. Japan and Indonesia are also the most frugal users of traditional minutes – Japan’s VoIP usage more than triples the amount of carrier based call time, which average 96 minutes per month.
This can be attributed to couple different factors which have heavily affected the usage for VoIP. One such factor is that it is obviously cheaper to use a free VoIP app that can connect users of the same service. It is also due in large part to the cellular infrastructure of these regions. Japan has a high population density of roughly 350 people per square kilometer, which has been taking into consideration when building 4G conduits. Japan’s cellular networks are very reliable and quite fast, especially when compared to most of North America. The widespread availability of Wi-Fi throughout these areas is also an enabler for VoiP services.
By far, China utilizes VoIP the least of any country surveyed. The most used VoIP app in China, Youxin, only averages 16.5 minutes of usage a month. This is about a third of France’s VoiP usage, which ranks second to last at an average of 44.5 minutes a month according to the Herald Online’s article.
China has the largest cellular network in the world, which has some 703 million subscribers. The network is owned by the government of China which has instituded certain legal restrictions on communication. If you have been paying attention to recent blog posts here at WhichVoIP, you may have noticed that a lot of attention has been called to the legalities surrounding VoIP in the Middle East. China’s policies parallel many of those countries, enforcing certain restrictions in communication and websites that may be accessed by citizens, though not to the extent the Middle East is restricted.
Worldwide, Skype dominates the VoIP market with some 600 million users. Skype was initially released ten years ago in 2003, and it has taken a decade to amass this many users. Line surfaced a mere 19 months ago and has since obtained over 100 million users. Though VoIP was not what it is today, when compared to 2003, it is still a huge development for a VoIP service to accumulate such a large number of users, especially taking into consideration the amount of competition in the market. Though they may not surpass Skype, Line is now the second largest provider of VoIP services in the world and Skype’s largest competitor.