Voice enabled WiFi or VoWiFi market has not been doing well for the last several quarters now. The reason we had heard in the past is the FMC. With the advent of FMC, single mode VoWiFi is being seen as addressing myopic opportunities.
The VoWiFi market could be of interest within two broad categories. One is the establishment of city wide WiFi network and the other would be under roofs whether in offices or at homes. But FMC is giving better alternative in both these areas and as a result there has been a considerable reduction in the revenues of chipset products for VoWiFi segment. iLocus 2007 VoIP annual report sees a reduction of about quarter of revenues on yoy basis.
The basic problem in using WiFi for voice communication is that for making it usable in a large area like a city a whole new infrastructure needs to be created, and with cellular technology already taken a lead in this no one is really aggressive in this area. Using VoWiFi inside in corporates or homes is again not taking up. The reason being low WiFi penetration in residential segment. Corporates on the other hand see more value in FMC than using different devices on-site and off-site. Moreover cellular phones have become an integral part of consumers and using WiFi handsets would mean adding one more handset to their pockets which is not really a compelling offering.
So basically VoWiFi is not getting much traction and the market is slowly eroding. But I am going to have brief interactions with chip makers to see what they are doing in this regard. Will be back with the info in a couple of days.