Aussie IP telephony market doubles in 2004: IDC

Australia's enterprise IP telephony market grew 98 percent in 2004 compared to 2003, according to the latest report from International Data Corp (IDC).The growth included rises in revenue, IP phones and IP PBX access.

Australia's enterprise IP telephony market grew 98 percent in 2004 compared to 2003, according to the latest report from International Data Corp (IDC).

The growth included rises in revenue, IP phones and IP PBX access. The study also revealed the shipment of IP phones in 2004 more than doubled compared to 2003. Shipments grew 176 percent, bringing the number of IP phones in Australia to more than 200,000.

The "IDC Australia quarterly IP telephony enterprise equipment tracker" tracks IP phones, single-mode IP PBXs and dual-mode IP PBXs in Australia.

IDC telecommunications analyst, Susana Vidal said 2004 was a "crucial year" for IP telephony, as most vendors experienced double digit growth.

Some vendors who had previously "shied away" from the market changed their strategy in 2004, pushing their IP telephony offerings to companies. As a result, Vidal said, the new vendors are "signing deals of IP phones in the thousands".

"Although we saw no emergence of killer apps in 2004, the evolution to VoIP is well under way and now there will be no turning back," she said.

Large deals last year included financial institution Westpac with Cisco, accountants Ernst and Young with Alcatel and the Victoria Office Telephony Service (VOTS) with NEC.

NEC kicked off shipments of the Victorian government contract in the fourth quarter of 2004.

Cisco is still leader of the IP PBX and IP phone sector with 37 percent share. Vidal said Cisco would continue to focus on medium to large users, but was also addressing small users with their IPFX offering. Cisco IPFX supports four advanced Cisco IP phones in addition to standard analogue phones.

IDC also expects new partnerships to be sealed and some broken as players grapple for market position this year.

"In 2005, we will see more strategic partnerships between equipment vendors, service providers/ISPs and systems integrators, some partnerships will also be broken as all players are trying to take a share of this buoyant market," Vidal said.

She added that the five major vendors--Cisco, Alcatel, Avaya, NEC and Nortel--will continue to concentrate on small and medium sized enterprises with their IP telephony offerings.