Discussion Papers

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VoIP im Privatkundenmarkt – Marktstrukturen und Geschäftsmodelle

Nr. 285 / Dezember 2006

Summary

Since 2004 VoIP is supplied to private German users. While in 2004 about 40 VoIP providers offered VoIP services, in 2006 there were already more than 80. At the same time PSTN minutes declined and mobile telephone minutes increased, but did not compensate the reduction of PSTN minutes of 5 %. This development might provide an indication, that VoIP advances to another alternative of telephony on the German private end user market. The analyses shows that technical problems of VoIP have almost entirely been solved during the past two years. Open questions exist on the German VoIP market about interconnection fees. As the EU and the German Federal Government have adopted a reserved attitude to regulatory measures on VoIP, the VoIP market is subject to less technical and regulatory restrictions than in 2004.

This also indicates that the VoIP provider market still is a growing market. The market structure is characterised by different categories of VoIP providers and business models. Peer-to-peer-providers, ITSP, ISP, integrated telecommunication and TV cable companies offer VoIP. Business models can be differentiated on the one hand by the provision of VoIP services between internet users and VoIP services with connection to PSTN and mobile networks and on the other hand by the fact that VoIP is offered explicitly as stand alone product or as part of a product bundle. In general the tendency to flatrate offers is observable. While ITSP try to acquire customers by co-operations with WLAN operators and mobile network operators, ISP offer VoIP services in combination with further IP-based products and the broadband access to the internet. ISP however expect furthermore to benefit from the regulatory order of September 2006 on the unbundling of IP bitstream access. The integrated telecommunication companies, which suffer from declining turnover from the PSTN telephony, perceive the changing product characteristics of telephony and offer VoIP – even if only as part of a product bundle – and only to some extend implicit.

Finally it is shown by a comparison of different telephone tariffs, that VoIP users realise price advantages only phoning abroad. Cal l by call-providers still offer PSTN and mobile telephony for reduced rates. Against this background it is to assume that users at first won´t substitute the PSTN access entirely by VoIP. [Full version only available in German]

Diskussion Paper is available for download.

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