Businesses will continue to rely on fixed-line telephone services, despite a predicted drop in the cost of mobile phone calls.
According to analyst firm Frost & Sullivan, by 2007 the decreasing cost of mobile calls will eat into the fixed-line consumer rental market, with the price premium on mobile usage set to drop from its current 100 per cent to just 42 per cent.
But although consumers will swap from fixed to mobile services, businesses will continue to rely on their fixed networks, claimed Jan ten Sythoff, research analyst at Frost & Sullivan.
"Voice over IP [VoIP] allows fixed carriers, especially broadband ones, to offer a different way of pricing services," he said.
Resellers are finding that firms are more willing to look at alternative technologies to lower the cost of fixed-line calls.
Steve Hook, director of VAR React Technologies, said: "Businesses find that most of their calls are made to their own national or international branch offices. When you can make those calls for virtually nothing, it's a compelling offer."
Competition is set to intensify in the voice market, with increasingly sophisticated pricing models. Mobile operators are moving towards bundled minutes and location-based pricing to reduce costs, Sythoff said.
The fixed-line operators will combat this with services, such as BT's Project Bluephone, that offer seamless movement between mobile and fixed environments.
"Firms are already looking at offering integrated solutions using mobile VPNs, location- based billing and voice over wireless LANs," Sythoff said.
Frost & Sullivan also reported that system integrators are set to cash in on the burgeoning mobile application market. It predicted that firms will use mobile networks increasingly for data as well as voice, and sees system integrators as the only way to take mobile applications to market.
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