If you’re a small to medium size business already getting your telephone service from Phone.com, you’re in the vanguard of what will be a tidal wave, according to a new study by The Insight Research Company.
The research house is predicting that, over the next five years, both telephone companies and cable companies will lose massive numbers of small business subscribers to hosted service providers – such as Phone.com and its competitors – whose offerings include features such as a virtual PBX, which is what’s at the heart of any good VoIP business phone service. That’s not to say that cable companies don’t offer VoIP – they do. And traditional phone companies such as Verizon and AT&T also do, in at least some places, with the exception of Century Link (the former Qwest), which secretly dropped its VoIP offering last year (it never really marketed it). Insight cites the lower monthly costs for a company using a hosted service company, rather than one of the traditional big players. It also notes the “minimal site equipment expenses” for businesses adopting hosted service provider VoIP for their office phone system.
Insight also puts some numbers on its predictions. It figures there are 40 million small business lines “up for grabs” right now. It also estimates that small businesses today are spending only about $500 million a year on VoIP phone service. But by 2015, as many of those millions of businesses switch to hosted service providers, the market will grow to $1.2 billion, it estimates.
As a journalist covering both VoIP and broadband almost since the very first VoIP call was made, what Insight Research is saying hardly surprises me. It’s about what I’ve been saying for several years now. But it’s always nice to know that others agree with your opinion.
The Insight Research findings, by the way, are just a tiny excerpt from a much larger 123-page market analysis study they’ve done, and sell for $4,695, entitled “VoIP and the SME: CableCos, Telcos, and the Rise of Hosted Service Models, 2011-2016.”
Stuart Zipper is currently a contributing editor to Communications Technology, a high tech business journalism consultant and freelancer, and the past Senior Editor of TelecomWeb news break.