ITU held a workshop entitled The Future of Voice on the 15th and 16th of January 2007 at its headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland. This workshop organized under the ITU New Initiatives Programme focused on the role of voice communications in the future ubiquitous network environment.
For a long time, voice services have been the principal driver of telecommunication revenue and will probably continue to drive demand for some time. Nevertheless, it is becoming harder to sustain traditional models of per-minute pricing for voice as the service is increasingly carried over data channels that are priced on a flat-rate basis. Some of the key issues discussed during the event include:
• How are voice services evolving and what does this mean for users, providers and the telecommunication industry as a whole?
• How will fixed, mobile and internet-based phone services converge?
• How does messaging, gaming, multimedia fit in?
• Are voice services of the future most likely to be billed by the minute, by volume, or on a flat rate basis?
• What regulatory freedom should be given to operators to bundle voice with other services (e.g., multiple play: voice, video, internet and mobility)?
• What form of licensing, if any, will be necessary for voice service providers?
• What will be the new business models and revenue streams?
• What are the residual universal service obligations (e.g. emergency calls) that should be imposed on voice providers?
All presentations and background papers as well as a web archive of the event (video and audio) are available on the workshop website.