I read an interesting article from Alianza today where they took some data published by the FCC (the data gets published slowly, so they’re looking at data from Dec 2017 and comparing to Dec 2016) and performed some interesting analysis. There were three items that stood out to me.
1. Surprisingly little VoIP is over-the-top
Only 25% of business VoIP lines use an over-the-top (OTT) VoIP provider, whereas a full three-quarters use their broadband provider for voice. So although people have the option of choosing an OTT provider their local service provider is still their #1 choice by a long way.
Interestingly, if you include all VoIP lines (i.e. add residential to the mix) you get only 13% OTT, which suggests that hardly anyone is buying a residential VoIP line over the top. Which kind of makes sense, because my guess is that most residential VoIP lines are part of a bundle, and most consumers don’t care enough to pay money to a third party OTT provider for voice.
2. Fiber roll-out is growing really fast
As of Dec 2017, 28% of VoIP lines are provided using fiber-to-the-prem, but what’s more impressive is that the number had increased by 116% in the preceding year. We’re clearly living through a time of massive growth for fiber, and there’s still quite a way to go.
3. Wireline phones are declining
This obviously isn’t news to anyone, but the data shows that between Dec 2016 and Dec 2017 the total number of residential phone lines dropped from 64M to 60.4M – a 5.3% drop in one year. At this rate the numbers will be cut in half by the end of 2030.
Of course, I’ve been reassuring myself for the last several years that while residential lines are clearly disappearing, there’s still plenty of growth in business VoIP. And while it’s certainly true that there’s plenty of growth forecast in UCaaS / Hosted PBX deployments (VoIP grew from 40% to 48% of business lines in that 1 year period), that should be set against an overall decline of business lines (down from 57M to 55.9M – down 2% year-over-year).
The whole article is worth a read – thank you to Alianza for taking the time to crunch some data and turn it into pretty graphs. 🙂