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News | 07/22/2005 4:00 am EDT

Global consumer VoIP usage doubles: Point Topic
New estimates from U.K. research firm Point Topic indicate that consumer usage of retail Voice over IP services has more than doubled in the past nine months. The company pegs the total number of global users at more than 11 million people, and that number jumps to 17.5 million when consumers using soft clients from companies such as Skype and VoiceGlo are added to the total. The largest retail VoIP market is in Japan where Yahoo! Japan has 4.5 million subscribers. The United States is ranked second with approximately 2.1 million subscribers. In Europe, France leads the retail VoIP race with approximately 1.2 million subscribers. Despite there being approximately 100 million downloads of Skype software, there are only about 35 million registered users. Point Topic also notes that there are only about 1.2 million SkypeOut accounts, those that can be used to call the publicly switched telephone network. Using a complex formula, Point Topic analyst John Bosnell estimates that there are between 5.3 million and 5.6 million "user equivalents" during a two-week period in the month of June. Adding in service provided by VoiceGlo, the total soft client user base increases to approximately 5.9 million. The research firm predicts that growth of retail VoIP will pick up considerably as operators like Verizon Communications, SBC Communications and Qwest move into the market to counter customer poaching from Vonage Holdings.

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