Matt Townend of VoIP industry analyst illume believes that in 2008 the long awaited growth in hosted VoIP service started to materialise. illume’s quarterly industry survey showed user figures topping 180,000, in December. So the question is what has driven this growth and what is going to change and happen in 2008.
illume sees two factors at work in the growth of hosted VoIP numbers; firstly the migration of existing TDM Centrex users to IP Centrex, secondly the organic growth in new users switching to a hosted solution for the first time.
illume believes there is a base of approximately 1,000,000 TDM centrex users in the UK. This is a figure that rather than diminishing has seen some growth in the last couple of years. The growth has mainly come from BT continuing to actively market the service particularly to small businesses, ironically when I rang BT about six months ago I was offered the service, I pointed out that surely this was a legacy service however the sales person did not see my point.
In the last six months it is also clear that operators with TDM centrex base are being forced to migrate some of their larger customers who are demanding an IP based solution. Actually in the December issue of Comms Business BT revealed that they had some 50,000 plus seats on their hosted Nortel switch and were migrating six sites every night from Featureline.
So at the end of 2007 we have seen some significant migration taking place from existing TDM Centrex to Hosted IP services and we only can see this accelerating during 2008. If you are a reseller who has sold TDM Centrex our advice would be migrate those users before someone else does!
So where has the organic growth of new users come from? We have seen this growth in specific sectors and in the mid market rather than very small organisations. The sectors that have seen large growth have been; managed offices, retail, professional services, local government, and companies that have a large requirement for home working or are very geographically distributed sites.
However at the end of 2008 there is sign of broader market acceptance of service and increased demand amongst customers across sectors, also we have seen the clarification of regulation issues by Ofcom which may also lead to confidence amongst service providers.
So illume expect that in 2008 we will see some significant growth, illume has recently launched it new five year hosted VoIP forecast which shows a predicted growth of 142% in the hosted VoIP market in 2008.
The other area of significant market growth in 2008 will be SIP trunking, illume has recently started to track figures in this area of the market, and we are seeing a significant growth in user numbers and new offerings from other services.