The South African voice over IP (VoIP) market is expected to reach a total of 100 000-plus users within the next three years – totaling billions of rands per year – even while the recession is causing a slowdown in US sales.
This is according to Pieter Botha, operations director at VoIP and data specialist Skycall, who says that the local VoIP market is "buoyant and growing" – and its growth, from a percentage point of view, might well outstrip the US.
"What we are going to see locally is a lot of consolidation. There are definitely too many players jumping on the VoIP bandwagon – and many think it is a case of simply selling hardware," he comments.
"You have traditional PABX companies eventually moving into this market, thinking they can make the conversion – and thinking they can reap big financial rewards. But it is not that simple.
"Even some of the bigger vendors may have to merge, or may be taken over – or may even go to the wall. But there is certainly going to be growth. It is an exciting market and has been since VoIP was made legal back in 2005."
But things appear more muted in the US, which seems to be feeling the worldwide economic recession more keenly than South Africa is.
A recent report published by the Dell'Oro Group suggests that VoIP adoption in the enterprise marketplace will begin to slow for the first time ever during 2009, largely due to the recessionary times.
On the local front, Botha says thousands of VoIP users are being "misled when it comes to the efficacy of the technology", and many believe that were not told the truth about VoIP when they signed on.