The funny thing about news in the VoIP world is that a few companies have the ability to flood the internet with multiple rehashes of the exact same article from SEO hungry writers. One of the biggest and most well-known companies is the world, Google, has generated 36 articles in roughly 24 hours with news about their service Google Voice. To save the suspense, let me state the main point of the articles flooding RSS feeds: Google Voice will continue to remain free for through 2013 for both the US and Canada.
This message was released yesterday on Google’s Gmail blog here, which is generally updated on a weekly basis. The Gmail Blog is worth subscribing to as there is usually good information pertaining to Google products you may or may not know are even in existence. Many of their products are free and are generally designed to make your life easier so check out their product page when you have a few moments andscan through their products.
So why is this news such a big deal? Truthfully, it really is not much of a development. There are quite a few VoIP apps in existence that are free to an extent and will likely remain free in years to come. In order to maintain a competitive edge in a market that currently generates over $15 billion a year, price gouging is not an effective way to spearhead the market. After all, Google Voice is just one component of the internet beast that is Google.
Since the first major surge in VoIP technology that surfaced roughly 5 years ago, VoIP was already slated by experts to be a major player in the technology realm. It is currently speculated to grow at a rate between 15% and 17% over the next 5 years. But how is it growing when most users of these services only utilize the free portion of these services? Simply put: most of the revenue generated by the VoIP market is from enterprises that are using these services in high volumes.
The rest of the market is simply about exposure. Other services, like Skype and Rebtel (another service that made a big buzz about a week ago) for example, simply need to be known. It’s no secret that calling long distance or overseas will cost a fortune if done over a landline or GSM network. Simply having a plethora of users because your service is well known will keep these players in the market unless some drastic change in the company ends up rubbing users the wrong way. Because it is cheap to host a network for a VoIP service, this will keep the smaller guys in the business for a while. Likely, the future will likely hold fewer providers will more subscribers for each service. Although my crystal ball seems to be a little foggy, it is probably safe to say the future will also hold mergers of competing companies, which usually benefits everyone across the board. Eventually, the smaller players will cease to exist.