Managed network services will save telecommunications providers, according to a new study by Datamonitor.
The report cites outsourcing, as well as a continuing shortage of skilled networking staff, as drivers for managed services.
Caroline Bryan, managing analyst at Datamonitor, said: "Providers are basing their offerings on IP virtual private network platforms and placing applications on top of that.
"Applications such as contact centres and unified communications are being offered on an ASP-type basis."
In a change to the original ASP model, infrastructure will be outsourced to telcos rather than owned, said Bryan.
This is possible because of a growing link between infrastructure, particularly IP infrastructure and applications.
The telcos are rapidly switching to multi-protocol label switching-based networking to meet the demands of the new market.
Craig Thomas, market strategist at Tiscali, said: "The market for this is really picking up. It used to be the case that managed service providers managed the customer premises equipment, but now there are economies of scale, and customers are buying a share in hardware.
"We find we are selling a managed WAN and people then ask about hosting servers and applications.
"At the moment, telcos have the best stance in the market because of the networks they own, and their ability to deliver end-to-end solutions."
Managed services firm Inty, which sells managed appliances to SMEs, is also finding the lower end of the market moving towards managed services and managed networks.
"We are now extending managed services down to the desktop by offering Windows and other applications as a thin-client service," said Neil Watson, marketing manager at Inty.
"But firms are also becoming more aware of the benefits of new technologies such as Digital Subscriber Line and voice over IP, and find that they don't have the skills in-house to make best use of them."
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