Dean Bubley: Decoding Apple's VoIP, WebRTC, UC and VoLTE strategy

InsightaaS: Dean Bubley is the founder of telecom consulting company Disruptive Analysis, which analyzes telco business models, and publisher of Dean Bubley’s Disruptive Wireless blog. This post shows the connection between the two roles: it reads more like a full-blown analyst report than a blog-level observation. In it, Bubley looks at the issue of voice services – including WebRTC (Web-based Real Time Communications) and VoLTE (Voice over LTE data networks) – through the lens of Apple’s current and anticipated communications offerings. The result has implications for Apple business users, and for the network carriers who work with them to supply services.

Like everyone else in the mobile industry, I’m curious about Apple’s future direction and possible launches and strategic intentions. In particular, I’m interested in its involvement in voice, video and messaging-based communications. We’ve had both iMessage and FaceTime video-calling for a while… but what about voice? And what about APIs? WebRTC? And what about the impact on telcos’ services? And will it get explicitly involved in enterprise comms & UC?

First, let’s recap. There are (broadly) three sorts of voice communications:

a) Standalone “classic” phone calls, or something very functionally-close to primary telephony. This is basic “Person A calls Person B for X minutes” (or goes to voicemail). Telephony is the bulk of “voice” today, to the extent that people often wrongly use the two terms interchangeably. VoLTE fits here as well. Traditional business PBX systems fit here too, mostly.

b) Alternative forms of standalone voice communications that are not really “phone calls”. Classically push-to-talk (walkie-talkie) service has been a good telco example, or conferencing – but there are also new types of realtime audio communication from the developer community. Encrypted secure calls with a dedicated app fit here. Some forms of enterprise mobile UC…

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