Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Mobile set to beat enterprise VoIP to the punch

Interesting report out today from Analysys Mason which claims that as businesses look to cut their communication costs, it is fixed-mobile substitution and not enterprise VoIP that will hold sway.

Interestingly though, we're not looking at WiFi voice (ie enterprise FMC services) here, but rather mobile operators slashing their wholesale costs so the rates for large business customers are plummeting.

According to analyst Margaret Hopkins: “As fixed–mobile substitution continues, enterprise interest in FMC is still being driven by a desire to reduce mobile bills, especially for calls from fixed to mobile, and for roaming charges. The opportunity for integrating Wi-Fi and cellular voice depends on these charges remaining high.”

So, mobile operators are responding to the challenge of VoIP. Well, that's a good thing, isn't it?

Yes and no. They're responding by cutting margins not by cutting their costs. If Analysys Mason is right, the fixed line guys like BT will continue to struggle and the mobile operators will win the battle for the building. But at what cost?

Mobile operators need to do more than just cut call charges ... that's all a bit too much like the dot.com fetish with 'eyeballs' and to hell with what the revenue ie. And we all know where that ended.

But if they can be a bit more innovative then they really can land the sucker punch. Maybe it's a case of extending UMA-based services from the consumer to the business market? Or maybe offloading traffic on to the enterprise network so they can reduce their costs by using the customers IP network instead of their own backhaul. If the operators are winning this battle, it's a good sign for the companies in the business of these sort of technologies.

For the vendors doing enterprise VoIP though, well, it's a less promising lookout.

No comments: