Wireless VoIP: All In Good Time
By Mike Masnick, Fri Apr 01 02:30:00 GMT 2005

While some still make wireless VoIP out to be a "threat" to mobile operators, some of those operators are already making moves to offer it themselves.

Last week there was a lot of talk about how wireless VoIP somehow represented a big threat to mobile operators. While some are still making that argument, the mobile operators have shrugged and continued to move forward with plans to offer faster networks and new services, including wireless VoIP.

Verizon Wireless has made it clear that wireless VoIP is in its future plans once EV-DO Revision A is in place. This was to be expected, given that Revision A's claim to fame was its ability to support VoIP.

The whole argument of wireless VoIP being a threat to mobile operators is comparing apples and oranges. Wireless VoIP and cellular technology are not mutually exclusive. Wireless VoIP is simply one way of offering a mobile voice technology -- but it's dependent on the underlying network. Mobile operators are in the business of providing mobile voice and data services to subscribers using the best technology available. If wireless VoIP really is a better way to offer it, then that's what they will end up doing. It's not a threat so much as an option.

What is true, is that wireless VoIP could make it easier for upstarts to offer mobile voice without relying on the mobile operators networks. However, it still means that they need to have decent, reliable mobile broadband technology. Those technologies are certainly coming, but building those networks will take time and those technologies are going to need some time to mature. During that time, as Verizon Wireless' plans make clear, it's not as if the mobile operators will stand completely still. The battle between existing cellular carriers and upstart wireless broadband providers will be an interesting one to watch -- but it has little to do with wireless VoIP specifically.