The economic downturn means that businesses will spend less on fixed-line voice budgets, as enterprises look to mobile phones as a cheaper communications alternative, according to telecoms analyst group Analysys Mason.
The report entitled Fixed-mobile convergence in enterprise voice in Europe: forecasts 2008-2013, predicts that while business budgets will be squeezed thanks to the financial crisis, the real threat to fixed enterprise voice spend in Western Europe during 2009 will come from mobile substitution.
Analysys Mason predicted that in Western Europe, enterprise mobile voice spend is expected to grow at a CAGR (compound annual growth rates) of 1 percent per annum, while enterprise fixed voice spend is expected to decline at a CAGR of minus 15 percent per annum.
The prediction will make uncomfortable reading for the likes of BT and other fixed-line telecom carriers, already struggling with declining voice revenues.
"For enterprises, mobile operators have cut their prices dramatically," said the report's author and Analysys Mason associate Margaret Hopkins. "Indeed, they have priced things like Wi-Fi voice out of the market. For large businesses, they have cut wholesale prices significantly."
And it seems as though mobile has become so cheap, that companies are more likely to opt for it instead of installing IP phones and VoIP systems.
"Enterprises are finding it cheaper to give staff mobile phones for all their calls than to put a new VoIP phone on a desk," said Hopkins. "In addition to this, the financial crisis will increase pressure to conserve cash and make it even less likely that enterprises will install a VoIP PBX when their old phone system ceases to be supported by the vendors."