IDC Forecasts Web Talk Applications Will Drive IP Telephony Growth to 47% of Total Long Distance Traffic in 2005

FRAMINGHAM, MA — NOVEMBER 28, 2000 — IDC revealed today that Web talk applications such as hi-fidelity PC-to-phone calling, unified communications, voice-enabled ecommerce, and Web-based conference calling will drive total IP telephone traffic to 470 billion minutes in 2005.


According to Mark Winther, IDC group vice president of telecommunications research, "This increased usage is nearly 100 orders of magnitude greater than the 5.5 billion IP telephony minutes projected for 2000. By 2005, IP telephony will account for more than 47% of total U.S. long distance and international voice traffic."

Prior to Web talk, the fastest-growing communications services were Web- mail services like HotMail. Launched on July 4, 1996, HotMail was the first free Web-based email service and passed 1 million registered subscribers in its first six months; ICQ, the first real-time text chat service, was launched in December 1996 and took five months to reach 1 million registered users. Both services continued to experience explosive growth and wealth creation for early investors. But both are dwarfed by success of Web talk services, which reached the 1 million subscriber point in weeks. For example,, which on October 18, 1999 was the first to launch free PC-to-phone calling services, reached 1 million registered users in 60 days.

Moreover, active subscribers are generating huge volumes on Web talk services such as, whose users are logging in excess of 40 million minutes per month.

Emerging communications ASPs and traditional carriers alike face enormous opportunities to capitalize on the potential of Web talk services.

"Telephony is the next breakaway IP opportunity. Even more significantly, enhanced Web talk applications are the solution to the death spiral of long distance voice telephony pricing. Smart companies will integrate the power of the Internet with the familiarity of the telephone to revitalize the global $800 billion telecommunications industry," Winther said.

IDC's Web Talk Forum: Defining the Future of Web-Powered Communications will provide a unique environment to explore the opportunities, understand non-traditional telephony business models, and assess the applications delivery platforms. The agenda will focus on the new foundation Web talk services offer in enhancing communications applications.

Agenda Highlights:

* Driving New World Voice from Web Communities and Portals. Yahoo! and MSN began offering free PC-to-phone calling services in fall 2000. IDC will discuss how leading portals with 100 million plus registered users will accelerate Web talk adoption in 2001 and beyond.

* Keys to a Successful Web Talk Strategy as a Broadband Service Provider. Telephone companies, cable TV companies, and ISPs are rapidly building broadband customer bases. IDC will explore the advantages for delivery of hi-fidelity IP telephony services to the broadband market.

* Communications ASP Infrastructures. Many Web talk service providers have developed their own network platform technologies. IDC will discuss the pressures and challenges of a combined technology developer/service provider business model.

* Enterprise IP applications: Poised for Growth. The enterprise market for IP telephony and Web talk applications has launched and is being driven by cost reduction motives. IDC will discuss the migration of this market from cost drivers to enhanced services such as IP conferencing/collaboration, outsourced IP call centers, and voice-enabled ecommerce.

* Voice Portals. Natural language commands are proliferating for telephone and cellular phone users to control their communications, directories, and access content. IDC will map out the potential of voice portals combined with IP telephony to drive new applications.

The program is geared toward senior executives in charge of business development, marketing, market planning, and product/service development for local and long distance telephone companies, communications ASPs, cable TV and mobile operators, Web sites and portals, and Web talk solution developers. The latest IDC research and strategies in this space will be shared at IDC's Web Talk Forum: Defining the Future of Web-Powered Communications on December 5-6, 2000 at the Santa Clara Marriott, California. IDC's Web Talk Forum is co-sponsored by Brooktrout, dynamicsoft, eYak, ezenia!, Firetalk, ITXC Corp., HotVoice Communications International, National Semiconductor, Mediaring, Surf&Call Network Services, and Voyant Technologies. Upside Publishing and Sounding Board are both event partners.

About IDC

IDC is the foremost global market intelligence and advisory firm helping clients gain insight into technology and ebusiness trends to develop sound business strategies. Using a combination of rigorous primary research, in- depth analysis, and client interaction, IDC forecasts worldwide markets and trends to deliver dependable service and client advice. More than 700 analysts in 43 countries provide global research with local content. IDC's customers comprise the world's leading IT suppliers, IT organizations, ebusiness companies, and the financial community.

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Editor's Note: For more information or attendee registration, visit or call 800-605-5849. Press pass requests should be submitted online at Interview requests are being processed in advance of IDC's eSolutions Forum by Heidi Connors, 617.262.8099 xt. 2, or Dana Basilone, 508.988.6891, Advance scheduling is recommended because space and availability of experts are limited.