Small to medium-sized businesses primarily shift to VoIP services because of the cost savings they offer.

That’s the conclusion of a new report from Infonetics Research, which also points to powerful features as a secondary motive for SMBs to switch to IP telephony.

It cites the fact that the growth of SIP (Session Initiation Protocol) trunking is outpacing other VoIP services as evidence of the importance of price in enterprises’ decision-making.

The report found that global VoIP services grew 33 per cent in 2008 to USD $30.8 billion. The researchers include hosted VoIP, hosted UC (unified communications), integrated IP access, managed IP PBXes, residential VoIP, SIP trunking and other types of IP voice access in its definition of VoIP services.

They found that while business VoIP services represented only 31 per cent of the total, they grew faster than residential services during the year.

Managed IP PBX, hosted IP PBX and hosted UC services accounted for three-fourths of the business VoIP total.

Diane Myers, directing analyst at Infonetics, said demand for residential and business VoIP services continues to grow through the economic downturn because of the cost savings they provide.
She said that as a result, in 2008 the VoIP services market had healthy growth of 33 per cent to USD $30.8 billion.

"For the first 3 months of 2009, service providers experienced an average of 40-50 per cent year-over-year growth for IP Centrex, indicating the demand for outsourcing and managed solutions remains healthy," she said.

"We expect hosted UC services to take off, with worldwide revenue doubling between 2009 and 2013, and we forecast SIP trunking service revenue to hit an 89 per cent compound annual growth rate from 2008 to 2013."

Other highlights of the report include:

  • NTT, France Telecom, and Comcast took the lead as the world’s largest VoIP service providers in 2008
  • Deregulation plays a significant role in the adoption of VoIP in some countries, such as France, where it costs only USD $0.02 per minute for fixed-to-fixed line calls worldwide, making PC-based services such as Skype irrelevant
  • Residential VoIP growth in Central and Latin America has grown stronger in the past year, particularly in Brazil where Embratel ended 2008 with 1.8 million subscribers to its NetFone service
  • In 2008, there were 106 million residential VoIP subscribers worldwide, the majority in EMEA (Europe, the Middle East, and Africa) and Asia Pacific, where competitive operators and incumbent carriers are in an aggressive battle for subscribers

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