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Hosted VoIP’s Worst Nightmare

The recent news of AT&T’s acquisition offer for T-Mobile USA got me thinking (and talking) about the small business voice space.

The small business space is very unique. It’s very unique because every single business is different and is looking for different things out of their voice service.

Two trends that have definitely emerged within space – regardless of the type of small business – is the need for flexibility and greater accessibility of voice service.

Twenty years ago, small businesses were chained to POTS lines. Ten years ago wireless was a luxury. Five years ago VoIP became the new small business must have.

Now everywhere you turn you see hosted this, cloud that, so on and so forth. Pretty much anyone selling anything into the small business space has a “cloud strategy.”

This had lead to an explosion of hosted VoIP providers. All trying to sell similar offerings into the small business space. Competition is fierce and margins are tight.

Competition between similar providers is fierce, but the biggest threat facing hosted VoIP providers is not coming from one another. It’s coming from wireless providers.

Yes, I said wireless providers.

With the rapid advanced of the smart phone (or the computer in my pants as I lovingly refer to them as) many small businesses are forgoing wired voice services altogether. Opting for the flexibility and accessibility that wireless provides.

And as device manufacturers and carriers continue to introduce more innovative mobility products, such as the Motorola Atrix 4G with laptop dock, wireless will continue to draw the attention of small businesses.

After all if you are small, lean and mean paying for voice service twice doesn’t really make sense.

If you’re a hosted VoIP provider and you’re not yet considering the competitive impact wireless carriers are having on your business start thinking. Before it becomes your worse nightmare.

Garrett Smith

Garrett Smith is a Technology Marketing and Sales Professional

This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. Mark R Lindsey

    Mobile carriers have a long way to go: have you noticed that Apple Stores have an Avaya PBX?

    Two big challenges for mobile phone companies:

    1. Reliability of call connection, duration, and constant quality.

    2. Challenging end user handsets for business features. There’s a real human-factor reason that a modern Polycom IP 650 or Aastra 57i is that size, with buttons that size.

    Many Hosted VoIP providers are banking on SIP-over-4G wireless, and some vendors (like Metaswitch) are hoping right along with them.

  2. Garrett Smith

    @ Mark

    I don’t see reliability and quality as an issue. My cellular experience has been as good as my VoIP experiences (using AT&T with the iPhone 4GS). Perhaps in other countries, but in the US, for the most part, cellular coverage, reliability and quality isn’t an issue.

    I see where you are going with the handsets, but you have to remember who will be using communications in the business world tomorrow – younger generations. Generations that have had a cell since near birth and have adjusted to the smaller form factor, not to mention more contextual forms of communication.

    And remember, Apple is a manufacturer of handsets, not a carrier. Last I checked even Polycom doesn’t use their own call control…because they don’t make PBX systems.

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