IDC’s top 10 telco predictions for 2009

IDC gazes into its crystal ball and sees telco growth and consolidation, no NBN, shift to IP telephony and the death of WiMAX all on the cards for 2009

Analyst firm IDC has predicted Australia’s telecommunications industry will enjoy sustained growth of 3-4 per cent in 2009, despite the economic downturn.

IDC telco program manager, David Cannon, said while there will be a downturn in services, operation and debt in the consumer market, the industry will be buoyed by investment in infrastructure that enables better total cost of ownership (TCO).

IDC’s second prediction was that construction of the National Broadband Network will not start in 2009.

“People have the assumption that once the contract is signed it’s a done deal, but it’s not. There’s a long way to go in this process; legislation changes need to happen, local councils need to come on board, you have to arrange funding and much more,” Cannon said.

A continued shift towards IP telephone and data services in the enterprise market was IDC’s third prediction, with lower TCO, flexibility and scaleability the key drivers of adoption.

“Fifty per cent of telephony business end points are not IP-enabled so there is still a long way to go,” Cannon said, adding that significant uptake in carrier Ethernet solutions was the fourth prediction.

“We’re also predicting a big uptake in IP voice trunking services, largely because Telstra and Optus are now offering these solutions that enable businesses to consolidate some of their access services like ISDN lines, PSTN lines, and so on. It also enables them to consolidate and save on hardware associated with data networking and IP telephony.”

The sixth prediction is further consolidation in the telco market, while in seventh spot is the emergence of Telepresence-as-a-service. Prediction eight is the beginning of the end for WiMAX and city-wide WiFi hotspots.

“There just isn’t enough money being put into WiMAX for it to be a competing technology to HSPA,” Cannon said.

Australia’s four HSPA networks, three of which are aiming for 96 per cent coverage, while Telstra is working on 98 per cent, coupled with the expectation of HSPA-enabled laptops, could mean the bell has tolled for WiMAX.

The rise of conversion mobility comes in second last on IDC’s list, with strong growth in device shipments and functional capabilities expected.

“You will get these mini-Internet devices starting to come through, and in line with mobile data pricing coming down and the functionality of handsets increasing, it all adds up to fairly significant adoption in both the business and consumer market,” Canon said.

Lastly, cloud computing will gain even more traction and provide significant growth opportunities for telcos, he said.

On the consumer side Cannon also predicted that ISPs who resell mobile broadband services will be able to offer better price points than fixed broadband. On the business side unified communications is expected to enjoy increased popularity and penetration in the enterprise market.

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