Retail VoIP use doubles in nine months

Use of retail VoIP services has more than doubled in the past nine months to nearly 11 million users worldwide, according to communications analysts Point Topic. The company said that there are now 7.2 million users in Japan, and 2.1 million users in the US. The growth is based on figures from last summer which showed five million users worldwide.

Software-based VoIP systems, such as Skype and VoiceGlo, add another 5.9 million users to the pool, according to Point Topic, although it admits that these are estimates. Skype claims that 100 million people had downloaded its software by mid-April 2005, and that 35 million users have registered.

But the Point Topic report claimed that “many people download the client and do not register, and many people who register never or rarely use Skype”.

“These users are contributing either zero or relatively little revenue to network providers, although interconnect payments are made when a call from a PC is terminated on the PSTN,” said the analyst firm.

France is the biggest customer in Europe, but since UK services only launched last month the numbers here are negligible.

In most cases VoIP is used as a second phone line, but the report noted that Norwegian company Telio is having great success getting customers to abandon traditional phones altogether

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