Sunday, April 8, 2007

How Many Retail VoIP Providers Sell $214 million?

Not many. Probably not Skype, which might wind up the year in the $200 million range. Cbeyond does. Which might lead you to conclude a few things about the current state of customer demand for VoIP services. What's the leading approach in the consumer market? POTS replacement. Same phones. Same features.

What's Cebyond's approach? Phone service and Internet access, same phones, plus some additional features such as BlackBerry integration, so an inbound call can be taken at the desk or away from it. As it operates in the small business market (generally no more than 250 users at any single site), Cbeyond can be expected to offer more features than a mass market customer might expect.

But the fundamental approach, which is to use VoIP in the core of the network and retain the analog edge and customer premises equipment, is pretty much the same.

That isn't to say the enterprise market is showing precisely the same adoption pattern. In fact, VoIP "past the edge," all the way to the end user device, increasingly is a familiar pattern. Enterprise IT managers still have concerns, of course, as a recent Network Instruments survey shows. But IP features arguably are more visibly a presence in enterprise markets.

Nor can one infer that "VoIP in the core, POTS at the edge" is the pattern that always will hold. It won't. It just works today, and effectively.

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