Voice-over-5G to reach 2.5 billion users by 2026, finds Juniper

Voice over 5G

We are living in a time of digital disruption where the way we communicate has changed dramatically. The use of fixed-line telephone services has declined steadily amidst a significant increase in mobile phone usage, Wi-Fi calling service and OTT messaging apps and the roll-out of superior connectivity modes, such as 4G and 5G. 

The latest research by Juniper indicates that the total number of voice-over-5G users will mount to 2.5 billion globally by 2026 from only 290 million in 2022. According to the report, this mammoth growth of 780% will be driven by the acceleration of 5G rollouts after the pandemic.  

Vo5G users in 2026

Total Number of Vo5G Voice Users in 2026 

The evolving voice ecosystem has enabled Mobile Network Operators (MNOs) to play a more strategic role in providing services to enterprises, as they can now differentiate connectivity and offerings for their customers. According to Juniper, 5G will continue to grow and disrupt the market, whereas all other networks are expected to decline. The rise in demand for 5G technology means that telecom operators must find new ways to make money through new business models and monetization strategies. 

Proportion of Mobile Voice Channels by 2026

Proportion of Mobile Voice Channels by 2026

In its research report, Juniper recommends that operators should prioritize interactive calling, intelligent call routing, and the integration of AI-based IVR as this new portfolio of voice services can provide an immediate ROI of Voice-over-5G. 

How 5G will enable operators 

For operators who have launched 5G, interactive calling will be a key opportunity to provide more valuable voice services and compete with OTT voice apps. Interactive calling can offer advanced voice calling functionality, including interactive content and screen-sharing, directly in the native calling app on smartphones through a 5G network, thus nullifying the need for thirdparty applications. 

The present 4G voice technology cannot support interactive calling. Though currently, 4G has over 4.4 billion users, which is over 50% of subscribers, the speed of 4G networks in comparison to 5G networks is lower and has therefore restricted the use of interactive features or AI in voice services.  

As per reports, the operator-billed voice revenue will decline by 16% during the next four years in spite of the growth of Voice-over-5G. The reason behind this is cited as P2P voice traffic is migrating to third-party OTT voice apps.  

In response, operators can capitalize on the growth of 5G networks for developing new business-oriented voice services like interactive calling. 5G-based voice services should work in a way that is similar to how current business messaging solutions work, by charging enterprises rather than monetizing mobile subscriber usage. 

Image and source credits: Juniper 

Read next: The future of telecommunication – here’s what the next-gen Azure will offer

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