Death of telephone ‘exaggerated’, says Ovum

Death of telephone ‘exaggerated’, says Ovum

New research conducted by Ovum has revealed that the "death of the telephone", which has been forecast by many, is "exaggerated".

The organisation predicted that over-the-top (OTT) VoIP services are not about to replace traditional telephony, but noted that they will have a major impact on the revenues of telecoms companies.

Forecasts from the global analyst firm reveal that OTT VoIP will cost the global telecoms industry $479 billion in lost cumulative revenues by 2020, which represents 6.9 per cent of cumulative total voice revenues.

Research suggested that voice traffic is simply shifting to other technologies, rather than collapsing completely. Ovum believes that a focus on creating cloud-oriented telephony apps, and efforts to maintain the relevance of telephone numbers will ensure that operators have a place in the future communications landscape.

Jeremy Green, principal telecoms strategy analyst at Ovum, said: "Where operators have seen voice telephony as a service without a future, they have chosen to compete on price in an effort to eke out any remaining revenues from the market.

"However, taking such a pessimistic view obscures some important commercial realities and opportunities in the voice telephony market."

The long-term trend within telephony is towards a richer and more complex communications environment, where voice serves a different need and traditional telephony plays a smaller role within a business.

Ovum also noted that the continued existence of the telephone number is important, as it is a key asset for telecoms companies, providing them with a reason to have a relationship with their customers.

"The major threat posed by OTT VoIP is that it weakens customers' attachment to their telephone number and transfers their attachment to a new address. This may turn out to be a more significant factor than the direct impact on telephony revenues," Mr Green added.

He urged operators to view telephone numbers as the identifier and address for cloud-based technologies, which will allow customers to choose numbers that are relevant.