A new study shows that users of residential VoIP service will reach 267 million by 2012. ABI Research principal broadband analyst Michael Arden said major regions will see differing trends in this area. Competition between cable operators and telcos, according to Arden, will spur the growth in the U.S., while European carriers are expected to include VoIP as part of the ongoing upgrade of Ethernet networks. In Japan, he said, the development is fueled by third-party broadband players like SoftBank. Arden attributed the current popularity of VoIP among consumers to lower cost and simplified billing but expects the technology’s potential to be converged with video, online gaming and other services as key to its long-term success.