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mobilephoneinhandThe popularity of smartphones isn't only a good thing for those who want to settle bar bets about trivial facts with their pocket browsers. In fact, they may be great things for those who want to cut down on the amount of money they spend on voice communications by using VoIP instead of paying for a call plan.

According to recent numbers from Gartner, 225 million units of smartphones were shipped in the second quarter of this year, allowing them to surpass feature phone shipments for the first time ever with smartphones rising 46.5 percent year-over-year in sales. Feature phones, on the other hand,  saw a21 percent drop in shipments year-over-year, but the writing is on the wall when it comes to what the next technology is that the vast majority of people will be using.

"Mobile used to be treated like a second- or third-class citizen but now, especially over the last year, it is more of a first-class or even primary citizen," David Uhler, national director of Slalom Consulting, said to UCStrategies.

Carolina Milanesi, Gartner's research vice president, said emerging markets are lessening the gap between these two types of phones and prices are getting less expensive. Gartner expects there to be 1.82 billion mobile devices sold by the end of 2013.

Growing number of mobile users
For those unconvinced that the rise in these smartphones will have an effect on the VoIP industry, take a look at some numbers from the most recent Mobile VoIP Services and Subscribers report from Infonetics Research.

The number of over-the-top mobile VoIP subscribers grew 550 percent in 2012 to more than 640 million, and this number is expected to exceed 1 billion in 2013. Diane Myers, Infonetics Research's principal analyst for VoIP, UC and IMS​, said Skype has long-dominated this market, but there are now other providers and companies getting in on the action. However, most businesses will need to figure out a way to monetize this.

"But the fact remains that most OTT mVoIP providers are making very little money per user. In 2012, the average revenue per user was a meager $7.13 annually," she said. "Since this alone is an unsustainable business model, most providers are turning to advertising, third-party apps and wholesale arrangements with traditional operators."

Organizations who have noticed their employees are starting to use mobile devices a lot more should look into the VoIP services Fonality offers. With our VoIP services, mobile devices can be used as an extension of the VoIP line at the office, so no one will ever have to know someone is working from home, the coffee shop or anywhere else, as the number and line will stay the same.