According to a new study, VoIP services are having a significant impact on the fixed line market in Europe. By mid-2008, just under 30 million consumer VoIP lines were in service in Western Europe, up from 20 million only a year earlier. TeleGeography, a research division of PriMetrica, estimates that the number of VoIP lines in Europe topped 35 million at end-2008.
While the aggregate pace of growth across Europe remains rapid, fixed line market trends in each country are surprisingly unique. Household penetration of VoIP telephony at mid-2008 ranged from slightly less than 50% in France to less than 3% in Spain, and annual subscriber growth rates ranged from 544% in Portugal to a comparatively anemic 13% in Norway.
'Europe may have a single market, but it’s far from common,' said TeleGeography analyst Patrick Christian. "However, while the uptake of IP telephony services varies widely, VoIP has been a powerful spur to innovation, even in some countries with relatively modest numbers of VoIP subscribers.' The challenge presented by IP-based competitors has compelled incumbents to slash the price of traditional telephone services, to deploy higher-speed broadband networks, and to introduce new video-over-IP services.
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