Voice over IP (VoIP) technology is not ready for mainstream consumer adoption, says Forrester Research analyst Zayera Khan in a new report which examines VoIP service suppliers including Google, ICQ, Microsoft, Skype, and Yahoo.
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The report found that more than half of European users have now heard of VoIP, but only 8% have tried it, and those who have tried VoIP are typical early adopters: young, highly educated males, who started to use Skype and Windows Live Messenger for free PC-2-PC phone calls.
Of this small group, only 4% continued to use VoIP for some or all of their private calls, while 3% gave up for a number of reasons.
Unresolved issues with VoIP include inconsistent or poor call quality, a lack of interoperability between VoIP platforms, complicated setups and interface usability problems.
Khan said, “Consumers choose VoIP because it offers select zero or low-cost alternatives to expensive phone calls that telcos cannot beat. Current Web-based VoIP offers have attracted tech-savvy consumers, but in order to also attract mainstream consumers, VoIP vendors Google, ICQ, Microsoft, Skype, and Yahoo! have to radically improve the experience.”
“Currently, 70% of Europeans don't know about VoIP — and only 1% use it for nearly all of their calls from home. Coupled with relatively low broadband take-up, European consumer VoIP adoption will move slowly,” Khan.
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