How do you see voice traffic levels 1, 3, or 5, years from now?

Oooh..that’s a toughy! We all know where voice has been. Voice used to be a great, highly lucrative business. Today it’s a tough, low-margin, high volume business.

Voice has completed its evolution into a true commoditized marketplace. Whether it’s mobile, OTT, land-line, VoIP, or some combination, it’s become commoditized. That, plus the explosion in messaging services that aren’t voice based, Snapchat, iMessage, Instagram, Facebook, etc., have clearly taken some of the messaging that were traditionally voice and converted them to data based messaging. What do all of these developments mean for the future of voice traffic levels? Heck if I know. But, I will take a guess.

Here’s my prediction/forecast/look inside my crystal ball….

Voice traffic levels will continue to decline annually, but will do so in smaller increments. I think we will see declines of 1-3% annually for the next few years and then it will go to 1-2% and then just 1%. The impact of new messaging applications has, for the most part, already been felt and has cannibalized voice calls. The majority of that impact is already reflected in voice traffic numbers today. Yes, as other markets open up and new OTT apps (Hello, What’s App?) enter the market. But I think that will just cannibalize opportunity from other OTT app providers.

What I am basically saying is that for the next 3-5 years, it looks like the voice market traffic volumes are going to be somewhat stable. This means carriers have an opportunity to invest in the necessary technologies that will allow them to respond to future market dynamics and disruptions. Cause lets face it, while traffic levels will stabilize, ARPMs and AMPMs, particularly for ILD, is declining faster than the volume levels. That will be a future discussion!

Ta-Ta for now (TTFN)!