‘Minutes Bad, Broadband Good.’

Carrier, PBX and convergence markets continue to be highly competitive and July sees Ofcom, and analysts MZA and Frost & Sullivan all publish data indicating trends in the UK carrier and PBX markets.

The call volumes, in terms of the number of minutes, is falling according to the Ofcom carrier report which includes figures up to the end of 2005. In fact the minutes market could be said to be in freefall. This is particularly bad news for BT as in a declining market their actual share of the minutes is also falling and lopping millions off of their revenues. Only in indirect access is the minutes business holding up.

A fall in minutes volume from 305,303 million in 2004 to 242,989 million in 2005 is seismic and clearly a concern to the longevity of many resellers as well as BT unless

By contrast the number of broadband installations in the same period is going through the roof, up from six million in 2004 to more than ten million at the time of writing. Despite their huge marketing budget BT is however stuck on less than 25% of the market share and heading slightly south of that according to Ofcom.

Local loop unbundling, where competitors to BT place their own equipment in the local exchange to provide services directly to end users, is gaining momentum. The Ofcom report is lagging behind real life in that there are now in excess of half a million unbundled lines in the UK, up from 36,000 at the end of 2004.

The writing is not so much on the wall as being towed on a banner across the sky by the broadband company plane. The message would appear to read ‘minutes bad, broadband good.’

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