A report by Ofcom this month suggests that the rise of 4G and superfast broadband technologies are encouraging the use of VoIP and public Wi-Fi services. The report names VoIP as one of the main trends in today’s telecoms market.
Ofcom’s annual Communications Market Report (CMR) for 2014 revealed that there is now a staggering 83.1 million mobile connections in the UK, making 134.1 billion minutes of calls and 129.9 billion text messages each year.
With LTE (4G) connections now available across the UK’s four major networks, the number of mobile VoIP and video calling users will only continue to grow as the nation’s adoption of superfast broadband builds.
Since the report is over 400 pages long, we decided to put together a summary of some of the most interesting facts and figures in relation to VoIP.
VoIP is now used by more than a third of British adults
Since 2009, the proportion of UK VoIP users has almost tripled, growing from 12% to 35% over the five years, strongly coinciding with the continuous emergence of new mobile phones and tablets with access to integrated VoIP and video calling applications. Tying in with the increase in VoIP use, the number of traditional landline call minutes has decreased over this time period.
VoIP is more popular among younger age groups
The use of VoIP among UK adults varies significantly across age groups. 49% of 16-24 year olds currently use VoIP along with 47% of 25-34 year olds, while a lower than average percentage of older adults make use of the service – 26% of 55-64 year olds and 15% of 65+ year olds. It’s highly likely that the main influences in these differences are the varying levels of fixed broadband and smartphone and tablet take-up being higher in younger demographics being more likely to purchase and make use of new or emerging technologies.
Lower prices and video calling are the main benefits of VoIP
The Ofcom report contains some research collected by YouGov earlier this year that asked VoIP users what they thought were the main advantages over traditional telephone services. 61% of respondents said the biggest benefit was being able to have video conversations, 57% said that VoIP costs less than using their mobile for calls, while 55% said that VoIP calls are cheaper than using a landline.
VoIP-to-VoIP is the most used type of call over VoIP
VoIP users were asked about the types of calls they make using VoIP. Unsurprisingly, VoIP-to-VoIP calls made up 48% of respondents, these calls more often than not being free of charge. 32% said that they use VoIP to call mobile numbers, with almost a fifth using it to call landlines abroad (23%) and mobiles abroad (21%).
VoIP is mostly used to call family and friends
Over half of users (53%) said that they use VoIP to keep in contact with family in the UK, family abroad (46%), friends in the UK (45%) and just under a third of VoIP users use it to talk to friends abroad (32%).
Laptops and smartphones are the most frequently used VoIP devices
Over half of the UK’s VoIP users make calls via their laptop (55%), with 42% using their smartphone to make VoIP calls. 36% said they use a desktop computer, while more than a quarter use a tablet (28%). Mention the low % of dedicated VoIP handset use?
Almost half of VoIP users use it weekly
The report shows that 48% said they use VoIP at least once per week, 14% saying they use it on a daily basis and a further 9% who use it nearly every day.
More than a quarter of users have only been using VoIP for under a year
The clear surge in VoIP use in recent times is strongly backed up by the length of time the respondents say they’ve used VoIP for. Almost three quarters (73%) claim that they had been using VoIP for 12 months or more, with a quarter (26%) having used VoIP for between three and five years and 14% said they had used the services for six months or less, again tieing in with the boost in VoIP-enabled smartphone take-up.