The voice over IP (VoIP) market will expand by 17 per cent a year to become a £12bn business by 2010, according to consulting firm Analysys.
The research, which covered Western Europe, found that 32 million employees will be VoIP connected within five years, 1.6 million of which will only have a mobile connection.
The VoIP uptake is expected to be a gradual move, rather than a necessity-based rush.
“Companies are moving slowly to change over,” said Margaret Hopkins, telecoms specialist at Analysys. “Everyone is agreed that VoIP is the future, but some vendors have been very bullish to take it up.”
Hopkins added that the VoIP market is a great opportunity for resellers willing to add support and services, but warned that time division multiplex (TDM) suppliers could struggle.
“TDM systems sales have been falling by 10 per cent every year and anybody who knows about the comms business knows that TDM is fading out, with firms such as Siemens moving into VoIP,” said Hopkins.
Martin Northend, head of convergence solutions at Siemens, said: “By 2008 the VoIP market would have overtaken TDM so we are concentrating on VoIP development. We are launching a new IP product and have a very healthy order book, with £1m worth of opportunity.”
Graham Francis, managing director at VoIP reseller Vocale was more cautious: “VoIP is a slow grower and can prove a hard sell to companies with good phone systems,” he said.
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