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Will 2010 Enterprise Communications Spending Change?

December 02, 2009

The year 2010 might bring some very profound changes in enterprise network services buying, said Hank Levine, Levine, a partner with Blaszak, Block & Boothby.
Not a paradigm shift, perhaps. Not a fundamental shift in demand from older products to newer products, but possibly some recession-induced tightening that might linger, in ways that will hit provider profit margins and sales volume.
Wireless is something like 40 percent of the enterprise telecom budget, and growing fast. So Levine thinks enterprises are going to look to slow the growth of those expenses, if not reverse them.
You can knock 80 percent off of the cost of international calls that originate in the United States by funneling the traffic through services like Google Voice, he said. And if you integrate mobile devices and the office wireline network, wireless calls placed in the office go out over the wireline system, where they are basically free, said Levine.

Enterprises also are taking “exponentially” tougher measures to manage software loads on mobile devices. Other firms might shift to a “no reimbursement” policy for employee use of mobiles.
“At least one household-name company we work with has just eliminated company reimbursement for employee cell phones,” said Levine.
Ethernet and wireless broadband (4G mobile, either WiMAX or LTE) access is poised to present a stronger challenge to traditional T1 and DS3 services, and the change might happen fast, said Levine. Some competitive local exchange carriers might benefit.
Non-essential travel has been replaced with conferencing and virtual desktops are likely to become more popular as well.
None of those changes, taken along, are terribly surprising. None, taken alone, might indicate any sort of paradigm shift. But there is potential here for some significant shift of buyer demand: more Ethernet, less T1; slower enterprise wireless growth; more conferencing and possibly more spending with some different suppliers.

Gary Kim is a contributing editor for unified communications. To read more of Gary’s articles, please visit his columnist page.

Edited by Marisa Torrieri

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