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New Business Voice Services will Take 5G Voice User Volume to 2.5B Globally by 2026

The volume of 5G Voice Users continue to swell in the COVID-era despite economic sanctions and the global slowdown in the telecom industry. 5G operators, in particular, are driving the growth with significantly high investments in emerging technologies to support 5G adoption across businesses.

According to a new research on 5G Voice User Volume trends, Juniper Research has projected the user base to reach 2.5 billion globally by 2026; rising from only 290 million in 2022.

What this growth in 5G Voice User Volume mean for the telecom industry

The remarkable growth of 780% in 5G user base will be driven by acceleration of 5G roll-outs following a slowing during the pandemic.

Voice-over-5G leverages the software-based nature of 5G networks to offer APIs for business voice services over operator networks. The new research paper titled, “Mobile Voice Strategies: Future Monetisation Opportunities & Market Forecasts 2022-2026” urges operators to capitalize on growth of Voice-over-5G users. This diversification in 5G services will allow operators to create a new portfolio of voice services specifically meant for emerging markets.

Key technologies in 5G that will drive the growth 

Operators providing 5G voice services should start building their portfolio to support these technologies:

  • Interactive calling
  • Intelligent call routing
  • Integration of AI-based IVR (Interactive Voice Services)
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These technologies are likely to provide the most immediate return on investment of Voice-over-5G.

5G to Enable Operators to Compete with OTT Apps

In particular, the report identified interactive calling as a key opportunity for operators who have launched 5G to provide more valuable voice services and compete with OTT voice apps. Interactive calling leverages 5G networks to offer advanced voice calling functionality, including interactive content and screen-sharing, directly in the native calling app on smartphones, thus negating the need for third‑party applications.

Current 4G voice technology, VoLTE (Voice-over-LTE), is not sufficient to support interactive calling.

Whilst there are currently over 4.4 billion VoLTE users, representing over 50% of subscribers, the lower speed of 4G networks in comparison to 5G networks has thus far restricted the use of interactive features or AI in operators’ voice services.

Voice Revenue Forecast to Still Decline

Despite the growth of Voice-over-5G, the report forecasts operator-billed voice revenue will decline by 16% over the next four years, as P2P voice traffic migrates to third-party voice apps. It urges operators to capitalize on the growth of 5G to develop new business‑oriented voice services, such as interactive calling. 5G-based voice services must emulate operators’ current business messaging solutions by levying the cost on enterprises, rather than monetizing mobile subscriber usage.

Source: Mobile Voice Strategies: Future Monetisation Opportunities & Market Forecasts 2022-2026, by Juniper Research

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