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4G is finally starting to pick up momentum in the UK, with more providers joining the fray soon. But with faster connectivity available to more people, will mobile VoIP calls overtake other forms of communication? Here is a look at the current state of the market.
Mobile VoIP Growth
The availability of VoIP services on portable devices has increased over the past few years, with 3G and then the faster, more stable availability of Wi-Fi networking helping to fuel the growth of this technology.
At the moment VoIP optimisation is particularly important for mobile devices, since they are relying on more limited bandwidths than fixed line services and coverage can be unreliable since the user is expected to be on the move.
This means that many people tend to stay in one spot when making a mobile VoIP call, harnessing a Wi-Fi hotspot so that they can be sure of receiving a consistent service with less chance of dropping a call. Of course in this scenario the mobile nature of the platform is somewhat limited.
The gradual rollout of 4G networking across the UK and other countries across the world has made truly mobile VoIP a reality for those early adopters who are willing to embrace it.
Indeed the nature of 4G means that all calls made over this standard are technically using VoIP, although many people choose to use the fast data rates in combination with a pre-existing VoIP smartphone app to gain access to their contacts when they are out and about.
4G speeds are set to double in certain areas of the UK in the next few weeks, while a greater range of network providers should be offering this type of service before the end of the year as the final wrangling over spectrum allocation comes to a conclusion.
But are there any real benefits to using mobile VoIP and will the majority of people adopt this type of communications service rather than sticking with traditional alternatives long available on portable devices?
The biggest benefit of mobile VoIP, as with landline services, is that it allows customers to dramatically reduce the amount they have to pay for making calls.
There are generally no per-minute charges for VoIP-to-VoIP conversations, while ringing legacy landline numbers is possible and often cheaper than you might think.
Audio quality is also much better when using VoIP, even on a mobile device, with the enhanced clarity helping to reduce the chances of miscommunication.
The final benefit of mobile VoIP is that it can be integrated into a broader unified communications (UC) setup which is ideal for enterprise users who need cross-platform compatibility to enhance cohesions and improve contactability.
The only thing which stands in the way of widespread mobile VoIP usage over 4G is network providers, some of whom perceive these services as a threat to their revenues because they will siphon cash away from their own cash generated by charges for traditional calls. But no firm is powerful enough to stop the advance of VoIP optimisation.