According to research firm TeleGeography, at the end of 2007 there were 25.3 million consumer VoIP lines in service in Western Europe, up 69 percent from 15 million in 2006. There were 6.5 million VoIP subscribers in 2005. That number is going to top 37 million by end of 2008, nearly 29 percent of the total fixed lines in Western Europe.
Why this rapid growth? Better broadband speeds, carriers fully embracing triple-play services and, most importantly, intense competition are the main reasons why Western Europe is seeing a VoIP explosion. In Europe many operators are charging as little as €30 ($43) including unlimited dialing. France Telecom is the biggest VoIP provider in Western Europe. The incumbents are five of the 10 largest European VoIP service providers. Surprise!
14 thoughts on “VoIP Growing Really Really Fast In Europe”
Om, these growth rates, while certainly pleasing to operators, are misleading. Because most unsuspecting customers got VoIP with unlimited national calling indeed for 30 euros, not aware that a classic analog line would not be included. Once they did they wished otherwise. Customer forums are full of NGN (next gen network) “victims” with QoS voice quality that sucks, also worried that during a break of power there will be no 911 service (112 in Europe). Operators recommend to “keep a mobile phone handy” in such cases… Dont get me wrong, I myself like to use VoIP calling countries like the U.S. where there is ample bandwith, but sometimes making a VoIP call just within my city results in QoS similar like making a call to Africa. So for business calls I rely on analogue fixed line.
question: do you really think people care about the distinction between VoIP or analog wired lines? They want cheap unlimited calling option. Now QOS – you and I agree – that stinks. on pretty much every VoIP service.
My experience with VoIP is that the voice quality is actually better than landlines, especially Skype video calls are awesome. I recently ditched my landline here in the Bay Area and stick to my Comcast and Skype. When I lived in Germany, I had 16Mb broadband connection so most of my VoIP experience was crystal clear voice with excellent video quality, and not that much dropping. My 24Mb Comcast here is doing a decent job too, but there is more dropping and quality issues.
My QoS is perfect with my 16 Mbps DSL connection here in Berlin, Germany. For 1,5 years already I live without a dedicated phone line and for at least 3 years I do VoIP over DSL. Even a 1 Mbps DSL connection in my former flat was enough to do it. I pay 3 dollars a month for virtually unlimited calls (300 minutes per week to Germany and 40 other countries).
What’s so bad about keeping a mobile phone handy? Millions of people have only a mobile phone because they kicked their phone line along with their DSL connection. Many ISDN devices (= normal phones) also stop to work if there is no electricity.
Yes people care since often there is no difference between flat rate for national VoIP or analogue anymore, so why settle for less if the price is the same. And even with analogue you can still use VoIP for foreign calls, just use call-through offerings from a VoIP provider with a analogue number covered by your flat rate. This of course for people who do not want to use their DSL data line for VoIP.
I too have 16 Mbps, and had 6 Mbps S-DSL before. Outgoing QoS is great, but it also depends who your VoIP Provider is using in foreign lands. If VoIP works for you – great.
Thanks both for your previous feedback. Om, do you ever sleep 🙂
@Lucas. Disagree with your analysis. Most providers have adequate quality with their solution as they reserve dedicated bandwidth for their VoIP solution. Haven’t had any problems with voice quality here in The Netherlands. Platform instability has happened sometimes, but no significant problems. Furthermore the VoIP power problem is heavily overrated as most people these days have a dect phone that doesn’t work when electricy is dead. 🙂
@OM: the €30 comes with free national calling and broadband included 20mbps down. And in France with alot more included. Also do know that VoIP growth is mostly stimulated by owners of cable and DSL ISP’s offering VoIP in a bundle and not by Vonage type companies. This is a big difference from the United States.
I live in France, i pay 30 euros a month, and i get TV, unlimited phonecalls (to 70 countries) and 20mbps (which in reality are like 12). I dont need to pay for a fixed line to france telecomm, since i live in a ¨degroupe¨ zone. The quality is great, i have been using this for a year and it has never failed.
Yes I do sleep. By the way for the best VoIP quality, truphone takes the cup. it is really really good even if it is a tad expensive.
Access is about $50/month including TV, unlimited national calling and 8Mbps Internet. Most of the time, you can’t tell the difference between a voip call and a PSTN one. Fortunately, the bar has been dramatically lowered by the wide use of cellphones. Everyone expects dropped and noisy calls now.
The growth of France Télécom has unfortunately made their customer serve abominable. Happily, a law was recently enacted that forbids these operators from charging you for the 8-15 minutes you spend on hold with the most infuriating music possible.
What are the top 3 reasons you would use VOIP?
I have a quick question:
How would you further explain how the concept
of voice over internet protocol (VOIP) works
to a non-technical person.