PALO ALTO, California (TheStreet) -- For all the talk of dramatic change in the smartphone landscape overthe last two or three years, they pale in comparison to the impact of what'snext: The shift from circuit-switched voice to VoIP, or Voice over Internet Protocol.This has been talked about for 10 years, but the stars are finallyaligning to hit with full force right now. Here is why:The average U.S. smartphone monthly bill is approximately $100, plustax. Of this $100, approximately 2/3 goes to an unlimited voiceplan, and the other third to a broadband data fee for service ranging from 2 gig to unlimited. Think about this for a moment. All the excitement of new and old appsalike, ranging from email to simple Web browsing to Facebook, Netflix,Dropbox, Twitter and numerous games -- is covered by one third of what youpay every month. In the other corner, the 100+ old app of simplephone calls eats 2/3 of your bill. This may have been justified until recently, but Skype is nowavailable on the iPod Touch, iPhone, iPad and other platforms. OtherVoIP apps are, too, including Vonage, Fring, Truphone, 8x8 and others. Most recently, Google ( GOOG - Get Report) announced on August 25 that all calls to U.S.numbers will be free -- at least until the end of this year. Do you now see what is so wrong with this picture? Once you botherusing any of these apps -- Skype, Google Voice, Vonage, Fring,Truphone, 8x8 or any of surely many others already (or soon be) available or soon -- you are paying 2/3 of your monthly smartphone bill for nothing. Pure waste. Did you wake up yet? I have just pointed out that a multi-trilliondollar industry may stand to lose 2/3 of its revenue once peopleinvest in a smartphone and click to install one or several of theseVoIP apps. Of course, as with almost all changes in technology, this will notflow through the system as soon as a solution is available. It willtake years to play out. But once there's a crack in the Hoover Dam ... and you can't plug it ... do you really want to invest against thistrend? Who will be the winners and losers in the market, as a result of theimminent VoIP smartphone revolution? The answer is divided into twoparts: Smartphone makers and network service providers. First, smartphone makers. There are only two devices in the markettoday with the ability to take advantage of the VoIP smartphonerevolution, not forcing you to also pay for a traditionalcircuit-switched voice plan. The most interesting example is the Apple ( AAPL - Get Report) iPad. It is to my knowledge the only GSM-ecosystem device inthe market with significant smartphone capability, that you can buywith a data plan only, and not have to pay for any circuit-switchedvoice.
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