Juniper Research forecasts that mobile voice revenues will fall from $354 billion in 2018 to $197 billion by 2023, an annual decline of 10 percent. That will likely not surprise anybody familiar with the voice calling market.
In a real sense, carrier voice services have become more a key feature than a big revenue driver over the past three decades.
Indeed, carrier voice forecasts have been rather easy to make, in a general sense, for decades.
In the 1980s it was easy enough to forecast that international and domestic long distance calling rates would fall as former monopolist AT&T got competition from MCI.
In the 1990s, it might have been equally easy to predict that “AT&T One Rate,” which eliminated the difference between domestic long distance and local calling for the first time, would lead customers to weigh the advantages of calling using mobile only means, driven strictly by the end of long distance charges when calling using a mobile.
It was likewise easy to predict that voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) services would likewise further create pressure on legacy calling methods, offering a zero incremental cost for international long distance calls.
In the transition from dial-up internet access to broadband, it likewise was easy to forecast declining dial-up sales volumes and growth of broadband.
What is a lot harder to forecast is the magnitude of incremental new revenues 5G might produce.
Juniper also believes 5G connections will exceed 370 million by 2023, generating $88 billion in operator-billed revenues. What that actually means is unclear. Nearly every “5G” internet access connection is going to replace an existing 4G connection, so such connections are essentially a replacement of a paid 4G account by a paid 5G account.