Apple Could Be Eyeing VoIP For its 'iPhone'

by , 3:10 PM EDT, April 4th, 2006

As buzz continues to build over Apple's fabled 'iPhone,' speculation increases that such a cell phone will eventually take advantage of voice over IP (VoIP), which is projected to eventually cause serious problems for cell carriers.

According to a blog post at Innovation Analysis Group (IAG): "UK consultancy Visiongain believes that this spring Apple will launch its rumoured 'iPhone' - a high-end cellphone to which VoIP capability will subsequently be added. Apple and networking partner Helio are targeting the same young-consumer market as the one in which the iPod music device has been such a runaway success, according to Visiongain telecoms analyst Pam Duffey."

Helio is an MVNO, or mobile virtual network operator. It uses another cell carrier's network to offer its services. According to IAG's blog, Helio has said it expects to sign up three million customers and hit the US$2 billion mark by 2009.

IAG also quoted Ms. Duffey as saying: "iPhone will probably be as disruptive to the existing carrier market as the iPod was to the mobile music industry. And when VoIP capability is added it will be even more disruptive." VoIP is growing in the United States and the market for it could be worth as much as $3 billion by the end of the decade, according to IAG.