A two-year "pause" in the overall carrier VoIP space is being forecast as the effects of the economic downturn spread globally.

Large RBOCs and ILECs are scaling back on VoIP equipment purchases, helping bring down the worldwide service provider VoIP market 8% sequentially to $816 million in 3Q08, says market research firm Infonetics Research in a new report.

The overall market weakness in 3Q08 was led by a steep decline in the high density media gateway segment, as well as a dip in the softswitch segment, according to the report, Service Provider VoIP and IMS Equipment and Subscribers.

On the positive side, sales of session border controllers and media servers were up in 3Q08, although not enough to offset losses in other segments in the next gen voice market.

Stéphane Téral, principal analyst for VoIP and IMS at Infonetics Research, said third quarter service provider VoIP equipment sales confirmed what was had already been seen in the previous quarter.

"In North America, carriers were already slowing their VoIP investments after completing major projects; in Western Europe and some parts of Asia, such as South Korea, inventories were already high," she said.

"The quarter also reflects the global economic downturn, which is turning the expected VoIP deployment dip into a drop.

"New VoIP projects will be postponed at best, and some may be cancelled altogether, as more consumers ditch their fixed lines, thus cutting the need for wireline upgrades.

"As such, we are predicting a 2-year pause in the overall carrier VoIP space, with a pick up expected in 2011."

Other highlights from the report:

  • Year-over-year (from 3Q07), softswitches, SBCs, and media servers are up
  • Cisco shook up the worldwide trunk media gateway market with a 37% sequential jump in revenue in 3Q08, propelling them to the #1 spot, followed by GENBAND and Huawei
  • Nortel maintains its #1 position in the worldwide softswitch market
  • Cable MSOs are likely to postpone PacketCable 2.0 deployments for residential VoIP due to tough economic conditions
  • Given how bad the current economic turmoil is, the 5-year outlook for service provider next gen voice is decent
  • Voice over broadband (VoBB) will continue to be the big driver across the board

Infonetics’ report tracks VoIP subscribers and carrier VoIP equipment, including high-, mid-, and low-density trunk media gateways, SBCs, media servers, class 4 and class 5 softswitches, and IP Centrex/hosted IP PBX, IP trunking, and residential voice application servers.

The report also tracks fixed-line and mobile network IMS core equipment, including HSS, CSCF servers, media resource function, breakout gateway control function (BGCF), application servers, and PSTN gateways.

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