Will the Mobile VoIP Trend Impact Cellular Mobile?

Emerging technologies are making it easier for business users to save money by making mobile calls via VoIP instead of cellular.

By Ed Sutherland | Posted May 14, 2009
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A recent report forecasting more than 50 percent of mobile calls using end-to-end voice over IP by 2019 should be a wake-up call for wireless carriers, who will soon be watching cell phone users slip away. For enterprises already migrating to IP PBX, the news is prompting a second look at ways to integrate its employee communications, both in the office and on-the-road.

"Large vendors are taking a new look," said Ed Cox, marketing vice president at Varaha Systems, a Dallas, Texas-based developer of the fixed/mobile convergence product uMobility, which links cell phones and offices through a Wi-Fi VoIP network rather than a more expensive cellular carrier when the Wi-Fi network is available.

Heavy manufacturing and banking are just two sectors that have expressed interest in mobilized unified communication and reducing the cost of cell phones. "Up to 35 percent of costs are spent on maintaining cell phones," Cox told Enterprise VoIPplanet.

In April, Varaha announced an agreement with Toshiba (see our coverage here, integrating the company’s uMobility technology with the technology giant’s Strata CIX phone systems. Cox explained the uMobility system provides what he calls the "heavy lifting" of linking an enterprise IP PBX to mobile handsets without duplicating core features of an IP PBX.

"We are seeing increasing demand for our product," Vivek Khuller, CEO of DiVitas Networks, told Enterprise VoIPplanet. . The higher interest is a sign of greater need for mobile voice support in the enterprise, he said. In March, DiVitas inked an agreement with Avaya to mobilize its IP PBX systems, providing access to enterprise networks via Wi-Fi or cellular connections.

How do these players expect mobile VoIP in the enterprise to progress this year? Varaha sees interest moving to action as first-adopters enter the sector, particularly with voice-enabled CRM.

Sprint, Tuesday announced it would expand it business-centric mobile voice platform for BlackBerry users. Varaha also recently developed a fixed/mobile solution for the iPhone, and VoIP service provider Jajah introduced a Wi-Fi phone application for the iPod Touch.

With it’s ability to reduce costs while increasing productivity, mobile VoIP for enterprises is looking up. "The markets are ready to take off," Cox said.

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