VoIP subscriber number analysis Q4 2011

Point Topic provide global VoIP subscriber numbers for Q4 2011

Point Topic tracks VoIP subscriber numbers at country and operator level. In this report we look at quarterly net additions by country and global region market share.

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Introduction

Growth in VoIP subscribers has been consistent this year, with rates of increase largely similar to those recorded in 2010. Considering all VoIP operators tracked by Point Topic around the globe, we see a total growth rate of 13% for the year, just one percent less than in 2010. Our quarterly numbers are up by 3%, an improvement of 1% on Q3 2011.

Net additions for operators being examined totalled 3.6 million for the quarter and 15.1 million for the year ending December 2011, bringing our total subscriber number to a considerable 135.4 million.

Point Topic defines VoIP in this report as a subscription service that does not require a PC to operate. For this reason, Skype services are not included in the figures for subscribers, although we discuss them in this report. But PSTN-style services are included.

Global and Regional

For each of the six regions in which we track VoIP progression, Point Topic has recorded growth. Once again, we have seen the more mature VoIP markets grow at a slower rate than more established VoIP markets. For example, subscriber numbers in Western Europe increased by just 9% during 2011, whereas subscriber numbers in Eastern Europe increased by approximately 27%, albeit from a relatively low starting base. This 27% increase for Eastern Europe is up 7% on figures recorded in 2010, when an annual growth rate of 20% was observed.

Region

2010Q4

2011Q3

2011Q4

Quarterly % Increase

Annual % Increase

Western Europe

41.83

44.42

45.45

2%

9%

Asia-Pacific

34.43

37.33

38.13

2%

11%

North America

30.89

34.76

35.75

3%

16%

South and East Asia

7.33

8.61

9.12

6%

24%

Latin America

4.38

4.98

5.16

4%

18%

Eastern Europe

1.37

1.63

1.75

7%

27%

Global Total

120.23

131.73

135.37

3%

13%

VoIP Subscribers (millions) by Region, 2010-2011

Once again, the South and East Asia region showed strong growth during 2011, although it has now been surpassed by Eastern Europe. Advances in South and East Asia are partly due to sustained growth in subscriber numbers in China. Licensed telecoms operators are allowed to operate VoIP services in the country, and there is also a thriving market in illegal VoIP services. These are typically offered by small home-grown businesses. Skype’s service is allowed to operate in China for PC-to PC calls only.

Western Europe continues to hold the largest share of VoIP subscribers tracked by Point Topic, with close to 34%. We expect to see this share decline over time as growth further accelerates in other regions, especially in Asia. However, for now, market shares recorded for 2011 are largely consistent with those found in 2010, give or take 1%.

Point Topic - regional VoIP subscriber market shares - Q4 2011

 

Leading VoIP countries

Subscriber numbers

The USA, Japan and France continue to dominate VoIP, with the third largest market, France, having close to twice as many subscribers as the next largest country, South Korea. Once again, the USA is the leading VoIP country, now with close to 31 million subscribers. More than 30% of these are with cable company, Comcast. A further 15% are signed up with Time Warner Cable, whilst 10% receive their VoIP services from Cablevision. Other VoIP subscribers are using a VoIP-only provider such as Vonage, with around 2.4 million subscribers, or a VoIP plan from a telco that also offers traditional PSTN services.

Our VoIP subscriber base for Japan now exceeds 26 million, with 27% and 24% held by NTT-East and NTT-West respectively. Growth has been contained at 1-2% per quarter throughout 2011, amounting to an average of 411,000 net additions every three months. In the USA quarterly growth has been about 2-3% per quarter with the exception of Q1, when a rate of 8% was recorded. Net additions for the USA averaged about 746,000 for the final three quarters of 2011.

The country with the third largest number of VoIP subscribers is France, with over 20.5 million recorded at the end of 2011. France Telecom holds the lion’s share at 39%, with SFR and Free accounting for a further 24% each. In France, VoIP has enabled new entrant operators such as Free to use unbundling or bitstream access to offer consumers an all-IP triple play for a low price. Incumbent France Telecom was relatively quick to launch its own VoIP products. The result has been a rapid shift away from PSTN.

It follows that France has a very high penetration of VoIP services. By the end of 2011, around 90% of broadband subscribers in France also had a VoIP service. This is higher than both the USA and Japan, where the figures are 34% and 72% respectively.

Point Topic - top 10 VoIP countries - subscriber numbers Q4 2011

As is the case with IPTV, Italy has dropped out of our top ten rankings for 2011, replaced by Brazil, which recorded 19% growth for the year. The decline in Italy’s numbers is due to a reduction in VoIP subscribers reported by Telecom Italia, one of the main Italian operators tracked by Point Topic.

Growth rates

Looking at annual growth, we see newly emerging markets such as those of Poland and Romania posting impressive rates as VoIP begins to take off. The Polish VoIP market grew by 37% in 2011, pushing it into first position overall in terms of annual growth. This represents a 19% increase in annual growth rate for Poland. The Romanian market grew by 31% throughout the year (a 7% reduction on 2010), now with more than 180,000 subscribers.

China continues to post steady annual growth, with 24% achieved for the year, pretty consistent with the 25% growth recorded in 2010. There remains considerable scope for growth in the rest of the country. Growth in Spain has also been consistent throughout 2011, with quarterly growth averaging at 5% for the year. This follows a period of accelerated growth in 2010.

Germany continues to make strides in the VoIP market, with annual growth up to 19% for 2011, an increase of 9% on 2010 rates.

Country 2010Q4 2011Q3 2011Q4 Additions in Qtr Additions in Yr Growth in Qtr Growth in Yr
Poland

0.51

0.64

0.70

0.06

0.19

10%

37%

Romania

0.14

0.17

0.18

0.02

0.04

10%

31%

China (All Territories)

7.53

8.81

9.32

0.51

1.79

6%

24%

Slovakia

0.12

0.14

0.15

0.01

0.03

6%

23%

South Korea

8.86

10.50

10.88

0.38

2.02

4%

23%

Spain

0.78

0.90

0.95

0.05

0.17

5%

21%

Germany

7.80

8.90

9.30

0.40

1.50

4%

19%

Brazil

3.15

3.65

3.75

0.10

0.60

3%

19%

USA

26.49

30.05

30.95

0.90

4.46

3%

17%

Mexico

1.12

1.22

1.30

0.08

0.18

6%

16%

Leading VoIP Countries by Annual Growth (million additions): Q4 2010 – Q4 2011

Find out more

The full version of this report along with access to quarterly VoIP subscriber numbers at country and operator level is available to subscribers of Point Topic’s Global Broadband Statistics service. To find out more, please telephone +44 (0)20 3301 3303 or e-mail toby.french@point-topic.com

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