How 5G technology will continue to evolve mobile voice services
The global mobile communication services market has always been prone to technological disruption and innovation. Over the past 10 years, however, the mobile voice services landscape has been profoundly affected by advances in new technology.
These include the penetration of artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning in communication services, the rise of highly customised over the top (OTT) mobile voice and messaging applications, and the rollout of superior connectivity modes such as 4G LTE and 5G.
Mobile voice service market development
To adapt, mobile network operators are migrating their networks to an all-IP ecosystem. Focus has moved beyond Evolved Packet Core (EPC) frameworks to converge data and voice services on the same network.
In turn, this has created offerings such as Voice over LTE (VoLTE), Voice over Wi-Fi (VoWi-Fi) and HD Voice services. This has enabled mobile network operators to provide services that can compete directly with the OTT software app providers within the voice services marketplace.
According to the latest worldwide market study by Juniper Research, mobile network operator voice revenue will drop to $208 billion by 2024 from $381 billion in 2019, as users continue to prefer more flexible and free OTT voice services.
The new research forecasts that third-party OTT voice services will continue to grow -- nearing 4.5 billion users by 2024. The study found that while this trend will contribute to declining voice revenue for mobile network operators, 5G proliferation will propel a number of nascent mobile voice and video services.
Juniper now forecasts that incumbent mobile voice revenue could decline by 45 percent in 2024, due to an increase of 88 percent in third-party OTT mobile VoIP users over the next five years. That said, Juniper analysts urge telecom service providers to invest in AI-enabled communication platforms that facilitate competitive IP voice service delivery.
However, the research anticipates that improved 4G coverage and a growing number of capable devices will boost the number of mobile video call users; partially offsetting voice revenue losses. The study forecasts that Video over LTE (ViLTE) network operator revenue will exceed $33 billion by 2024.
Outlook for 5G mobile applications growth
Moreover, Juniper anticipates that 5G deployment will generate new revenue streams for network operators by enabling innovative use cases for VoLTE and ViLTE. They believe that high data throughput and low latency will propel emerging services that have applications across a range of industries.
Additionally, network operators need to accelerate VoLTE launches, in order to benefit from emerging 5G services. The study notes that establishing a 5G-enabled IP Multimedia Subsystem (IMS) infrastructure for VoLTE will provide a foundation for future voice services rollouts, which network operators could monetise in the future.
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