PALO ALTO, California ( TheStreet) -- For all the talk of dramatic change in the smartphone landscape over the last two or three years, they pale in comparison to the impact of what's next: 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 finally aligning to hit with full force right now. Here is why:The average U.S. smartphone monthly bill is approximately $100, plus tax. Of this $100, approximately 2/3 goes to an unlimited voice plan, 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 apps alike, ranging from email to simple Web browsing to Facebook, Netflix, Dropbox, Twitter and numerous games -- is covered by one third of what you pay every month. In the other corner, the 100+ old app of simple phone calls eats 2/3 of your bill. This may have been justified until recently, but Skype is now available on the iPod Touch, iPhone, iPad and other platforms. Other VoIP apps are, too, including Vonage, Fring, Truphone, 8x8 and others. Most recently, Google ( GOOG) 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 bother using 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-trillion dollar industry may stand to lose 2/3 of its revenue once people invest in a smartphone and click to install one or several of these VoIP apps. Of course, as with almost all changes in technology, this will not flow through the system as soon as a solution is available. It will take 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 this trend? Who will be the winners and losers in the market, as a result of the imminent VoIP smartphone revolution? The answer is divided into two parts: Smartphone makers and network service providers. First, smartphone makers. There are only two devices in the market today with the ability to take advantage of the VoIP smartphone revolution, not forcing you to also pay for a traditional circuit-switched voice plan. The most interesting example is the Apple ( AAPL) iPad. It is to my knowledge the only GSM-ecosystem device in the market with significant smartphone capability, that you can buy with a data plan only, and not have to pay for any circuit-switched voice.
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