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The Wholesale Voice Business: An In-Depth Look

The wholesale voice business plays a pivotal role in enabling global voice connectivity by allowing telecom carriers to exchange voice traffic between their networks. This article will provide an in-depth examination of the wholesale voice market, services, technologies, pricing models, quality management, challenges, emerging trends and future outlook.

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Introduction to Wholesale Voice Business

The wholesale voice business refers to the wholesale trading of voice minutes between telecom carriers across international borders. Telecom carriers who own network infrastructure buy and sell voice minutes on a wholesale basis to expand coverage across geographies.

At its core, the wholesale voice business enables the routing and delivery of voice traffic between different telecom operator networks through interconnection agreements and settlements. This allows end-users worldwide to make international voice calls by bridging networks.

Market Overview

The global wholesale voice market is estimated to be worth $50-60 billion. North America and Europe account for the largest share, but Asia-Pacific is also witnessing rapid growth.

Some key players in the wholesale international voice market include My County Mobile, Nextiva, Vonage, AcePeak. Competition is intense as carriers jockey for international market share.

Rising globalization, growing international travel and trade, and increasing overseas contacts continue to drive growth of the wholesale voice business that connects global networks.

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Wholesale Voice Services

Carriers offer various wholesale voice services for routing and terminating voice traffic:

  • Voice Termination: Enables terminating calls to mobile/landline networks domestically or internationally.
  • SIP Trunking: Provides VoIP channels to connect PBX systems to PSTN networks.
  • Voice Origination: Routes calls originating from client networks for domestic or international termination.
  • Toll-Free Services: Provides toll-free numbers and inbound call routing.
  • International LD: Offers international calling minutes at wholesale rates.

Key Players in the Industry

Some top companies playing a major role in the wholesale voice market globally are:


A leading US carrier offering IP and traditional voice termination, SIP trunking and toll-free services.

Deutsche Telekom

German telecom provider offering pan-European termination through extensive network infrastructure.

Tata Communications

India-based telco providing wholesale voice termination into 200+ countries.


US telecom giant providing global IP voice network services and termination.

Bharti Airtel

 A leading provider in India that offers comprehensive wholesale voice solutions.

Acepeak Networks

Emerging wholesale voice provider offering high-quality termination services in 100+ countries.

Technology and Infrastructure

Operating a wholesale voice business requires significant investments in technology infrastructure: 

Network Architecture:
Carriers need to build reliable, scalable IP network architecture with full redundancy to route huge voice traffic volumes.

Advanced voice switches and routers optimize traffic routing over global networks.

Points of presence and data centers across strategic locations enable interconnections between networks.

Network monitoring systems provide visibility into traffic and performance.

Signaling System 7 and SIP enable call setup and routing between networks.

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Pricing and Billing Models

Some common pricing models used in wholesale voice are:

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Carriers bill based on the minutes of voice traffic terminated at a defined rate.

Flat rate

A fixed rate based on dedicated capacity allocation.

Volume Discounts

Lower per-minute rates based on volume traffic commitments.

These rates are implemented through Interconnect Agreements between carriers. Settlements and billing reconciliation are done monthly. Rates vary based on destination, volumes, and relationships.

Quality of Service

Maintaining excellent voice quality is paramount for wholesale voice carriers. Some key measures adopted are:

  • Optimizing network routing to minimize latency, jitter, and packet loss.
  • Proactive network monitoring 24/7 and immediate issue resolution.
  • Regular network hardware upgrades to ensure high capacity.
  • Establishing SLAs for quality metrics like network uptime, call completion rates, etc.
  • Rigorous testing and upgrades to meet quality benchmarks.
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Challenges and Solutions

Some key challenges faced in the wholesale voice business are:

Wholesale Voice Termination


CLI spoofing, robocalling, etc. Solutions include implementing firewalls, session border controllers, and antispoofing protocols like STIR/SHAKEN.

Security threats

Mitigated through encryption of traffic, Intrusion Prevention Systems, and Access Control Lists.

Interconnection disputes

Addressed through improving contracts and settlement processes.

Competition and pricing pressures

Differentiated high-quality offerings, value-added services, and efficient operations.

Emerging Trends

Some key trends shaping the evolution of wholesale voice are:

Transition to IP networks

Deploying more efficient IP-based infrastructure integrated with SIP systems.

Cloud Voice Services

 Leveraging cloud platforms to deliver wholesale voice services on-demand.

Intelligent Traffic Management

Using AI and ML to automate and optimize global traffic routing.

5G Integration

Adopting 5G for higher-speed, lower-latency voice services.

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Future Outlook

The wholesale international voice market is expected to surpass $70 billion by 2026, driven by increasing interconnection of global networks and growing voice traffic. However, margins may shrink due to pricing pressures. Carriers will have to pursue operational efficiencies, and new value-added offerings, and adopt automation to stay competitive. Secure IP-based networks will gain prominence over legacy networks. Overall, the essential role of wholesale voice in connecting global communications positions it for long-term growth.

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