VoIP awareness up but user numbers remain low

A report from Ofcom claims four in five consumers know what voice over internet protocol (VoIP) is, but just 29% use the technology

More consumers are aware of voice over internet protocol (VoIP) technology than ever before, but few use it in the UK.

This was one of the findings of a report from Ofcom entitled The Consumer Experience of 2012, which looked into almost 2,000 people’s experiences of the telecoms industry.

The Ofcom report claimed that, while 78% of those surveyed were aware of VoIP services – up from 75% the previous year – only 35% had access to such services at home and just 29% were using the technology.

Younger people, along with families with young children, are driving adoption up and a further 7% are expected to start using the service in the next two years, but the figure remains low.

Instead, a large proportion of homes still use a fixed line phone alongside a mobile handset. Some 79% used both, with 15% plumping for just a mobile and just 5% using only a landline.

The 84% figure of homes with fixed line phones has remained the same for the past three years of the Ofcom report, after a small decline hit the industry in 2009. Ofcom claimed the decline had been much greater in other countries and while the UK remained a fan of the landline, there was a fall in the number of fixed phone lines per head everywhere, except in Russia and Brazil.

The reason for this might derive from another issue covered in the Ofcom report, the increasing cost of mobile packages. Ofcom said data from mobile operators showed voice call prices had fallen, but using Teligen analysts to compare the prices of varying voice, SMS and data use across nine tariffs showed an increase of 7% year on year.

Yet the report concluded prices for communications in the UK compared favourably with other countries. Research showed four of the five cheapest bundled deals were on UK shores, along with all of the five lowest stand-alone prices for broadband and television deals.

Read the full report here

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