There is still a future in traditional voice revenues despite the rise of voice over IP (VoIP), according to analyst Ovum.
Mike Cansfield, head of Ovum’s telecoms strategy practice, said: “The growth of broadband has seen people using more VoIP and disconnecting traditional voice lines. But any talk of the demise of voice is premature. You still see a continued drive in volumes of calls, and mobile is core to this.”
Cansfield added that Ovum predicts mobile revenues will overtake fixed-line revenues by 2010. He said the European market is well developed on the mobile side, with a high level of fixed mobile substitutions, where users have only a mobile connection.
“We all know about the promise of VoIP, but with calls being virtually free there is not much margin for the channel,” he said. “Resellers are well advised to extend their portfolios to cover mobile technologies, because the voice market in the UK is fairly saturated.”
Jess Thompson-Hughes, managing director of voice distributor React Technologies, said: “We would need to see a whole regulation shift to move some people away from traditional voice systems.
“Unless there is a reason to change, why change? We offer VoIP, but most customers benefit only with increased mobility, not a cost saving.”
However, Rajesh Sinha, technical director at telecoms provider Bailey Teswaine, disagreed.
“The voice market will disappear in 2008 after the introduction of BT’s 21st Century Network,” he said. “Everything will be IP. There is still a margin in traditional voice until then, but any firm looking forward needs to be thinking about VoIP.”
Sinha also dismissed the continued revenues of mobile and claimed that demand for IP-enabled handsets will rocket.
“Everyone is talking about VoIP and no one is talking about tradit-ional voice and minutes. Resellers still doing traditional voice have a limited timescale left. In 2008 they will have to move aside for the VoIP providers,” he said.
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