Shrinkage.

Both Om Malik and Mark Evans are talking today about research done by Sandvine that suggests that as of April 5th more than 1,100 VoIP providers.

Sandvine asserts that Quality of Experience (QoE) is critical in the VoIP market:

The battle for market share amongst all these offerings will be fought on the field of quality of experience (QoE), a measure of end-to-end performance that combines reliability, standard quality of service metrics and subjective end-user experiences. The failure or success of VoIP offerings depends on the level of QoE that a service provider can achieve and sustain, so network managers must determine very quickly how QoE can best be quantified and ensured.

I don’t know about QoE, but I’ve often mentioned that reliability and uptime will be a huge factor. I’m not sure how anyone can measure subjective end-user experiences

Sandvine obviously sells technology to improve QoE by providing tiered or priority services, but their customers are likely ISPs that don’t want to improve the experience for an VoIP technology but their own. The end result is likey to be a poorer QoE for many of those 1,100 providers, in much the same way as some ISPs are blocking Vonage.

That doesn’t really matter anyway because, as Om shrewdly points out, there will be some shrinkage:

Given that there are going to be about 3 million VoIP subscribers at the end of 2005, and if you take out nearly 2 million that will be shared by the cable companies and Vonage, well what you are left with is a million subscribers for about 1080 providers. Or about 925 or so per VoIP provider. That cant be a business you can build the next WorldCon on? Can it?

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Aswath, keeps reminding us, isnt this all old wine in a new bottle. Its not different thinking. So prediction – and a full year before Sandvine – by end of this year most of these wannabes gone, VoIP market cleaning up, and handful surviving and thriving. Remember ISPs.