August 11, 2008
IP Telephony, Wireless Services Spreading among India's SMBs
In a sign of how IP telephony and wireless services are spreading throughout the world, industry researchers today are reporting today that a segment of businesses in India will spend 7 percent more on telecom goods this year than they did last year.
Small and medium businesses in India likely will spend about $6.4 billion on telecom equipment and services, according to New York-based Access Markets International Partners, Inc.
According to the firm’s senior analyst, Dev Chakravarty, spending on telecom services such as cellular services, and local and long-distance telephony accounted for more than 90 percent of total telecom spending last year.
“Cellular penetration within small businesses has reached near-saturation at 98 percent – almost on par with usage of local phones,” Chakravarty said.
According to the firm, small businesses – or companies with up to 99 employees – make up for about 80 percent of telecom spending among Indian SMBs.
“This is due to their sheer numbers as SBs account for more than 99 percent of all SMBs in India,” AMI Partners officials say. “SBs want to set up a robust connectivity infrastructure that enables them to interact with their business partners and other stakeholders.”
Overall, the researchers say, the telecom industry in India is on the verge of a major expansion – the SMB sector could see about 500,000 new telephone lines in the next 12 months, they say.
“Future trends indicate a likely advent of 3G communications and the possible entry of foreign operators into the spectrum fray,” the research firm says. “These are likely to bring in good tidings for SMBs as these services will bring in increased value-added services and tools for SMBs that will help them improve their services to customers as a part of better customer relationship management.”
According to AMI Partners, the service sector dominates overall India SMB unified communication spending, with more than 80 percent of the total. Audio conferencing has a relatively larger share of the pie, the firm reports, followed by other communication methods like video, Web conferencing and instant messaging.
“Usage of video and Web conferencing is still at an embryonic stage within India SMBs but is anticipated to move forward along with greater availability and affordability of bandwidth; many ISPs are indeed striving to bring down the broadband costs,” Chakravarty said. “SMBs are considering cutting down on business travel to bring down costs – especially in the wake of spiraling fuel prices. Other real-time communication methods like audio and video conferencing can help them reduce the needs of business travel and face-to-face meetings.”
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Michael Dinan is a contributing editor for TMCnet, covering news in the IP communications, call center and customer relationship management industries. To read more of Michael’s articles, please visit his columnist page.