Worldwide Wi-Fi VoIP handset revenue totalled $45m (£24m) in 2004, with 113,000 units sold, according to a report by Infonetics Research.
The report projected revenue and units to show strong growth up to 2009 as enterprises slowly but steadily deployed voice over wireless Lans.
Worldwide dual-mode Wi-Fi/mobile handset revenue hit $6.6m last year, and units totalled more than 8,000. Since handset units only became commercially available in the fourth quarter of 2004, this represents the birth of the market.
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Revenue and units are projected to mushroom by 2009 as enterprises take advantage of the opportunity to offer employees flexible mobile access over different forms of wireless networks.
“Wi-Fi capability will eventually become a common feature in cell phones, just as it is becoming standard in laptops today, giving mobile operators a big opportunity with Wi-Fi voice,” said Richard Webb, directing analyst for Infonetics and author of the report.
“But voice over wireless internet devices have the potential to be a hugely disruptive technology too. One big factor is the low cost of calling, especially long distance, overseas and during peak hours.
“The traditional model of time and distance-based pricing for voice calls will be eroded by VoIP, and as VoIP goes wireless this will present a challenge not only to fixed-line operators but to mobile operators as well.”