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WiBro now used for VoIP

Posted: August 13th, 2009, by admin

KT announced voice mobile phone service will be launched in November using WiBro technology as carrier. Network installations and infrastructure are already initiated. The homegrown long range and in-motion standard will deserve Korean market at cheaper rates for customers and aims to demonstrate positive results to back up its losing-ground worldwide struggle against LTE standard, said KT.

I suggest the underlying truth may be different. This blog has already covered here the governmental walled-garden strategy and pressures over Korean companies to champion WIBRO despite their increasing reluctance.  Contrary to publicly expressed motivations, this move have to be understand in a long-term strategic perspective and have little to do with WIBRO success - or rather lack of success -  abroad. KT is indeed preparing the up-coming IT disruption : the mobile VoIP.

<!–[if !vml]–><!–[endif]–> According to Gartner - and my own experience as consultant -,  VoIP is the inevitable evolution of mobile phone market. The American firm estimates that 50% of mobile voice traffic will be under VoIP in 2019.  Only the companies providing such services will have opportunities to make comfortable benefits from the global mobile voice market, whose size is today 692.6 $ billions. The key factor is a wide 4G coverage, LTE or WIBRO whatever, reached around 2017. Once this condition meet mobile VoIP will full bloom, wrote Gartner analyst Tole Hart.

Until now, mobile network operators was really suspicious of VoIP. Terms of service for mobile data  exclude VoIP use, which displease most competition authorities, even pushing  the European Commission to consider regulation issuance.

Because with mobile VoIP will come new competitors, some of them very threatening. VoIP Players such as Skype, already the first operator in international communication with a 8% marketshare, can leverage valuable expertise. Powerful Internet giants may enter as well : Gartner predicts than more a third of mobile voice traffic will go through portals and social networks like Google, Facebook, Myspace or Yahoo.

A business saying goes : “If your core product can be cannibalized, better will be by you”.  VoIP is not only a technical issue, it’s a disruption in the business model. The value will shift from the call itself to its integration in an ecosystem.

The report was released in May and predicted a quick stance change from MNOs. As Korea is known to be a window to the future, we hope KT decision will give us a glimpse to this radically different future and we will follow this topic thoroughly.

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