A 17 percent growth in data service revenue over the next five years and telco reluctance to cater to the needs of SMEs will present ample opportunity for the channel to provide data services, according to telecommunications analyst firm Market Clarity.
"The small to medium sized business sector is an area that the channel has an advantage," said Shara Evans, CEO at Market Clarity.
"There is a trusted relationship between SMEs and the channel. It's not an area that telcos have done particularly well at in terms of developing relationships so it leaves a good hole for integrators to move into."
Evans drew her conclusions from a recently published Market Clarity report that forecast growth and trends in the data services market between 2005 and 2010.
Titled, The Australian Data Services Market, the report analysed the performance of a range of data services including, IP/MPLS, Ethernet, Dark Fibre, Frame Relay, ATM, Leased Line, and ISDN. It was collated through primary research and tallied the data service of 32 major telcos.
The report found that among the individual data components, IP/MPLS, Ethernet and Dark Fibre were forecast as the biggest revenue movers with growth of 93.7 percent, 157 percent and 165.1 percent respectively.
"The reason we're seeing increased interest in these services is that most other data networks historically use a hub and spoke system which can add unnecessary delays to routing," she said.
Evans also warned that integrators and service providers should not strip away old network infrastructure in the rush to migrate to next generation technologies.
"Old technology is being used in new ways. For example Frame Relays are now being used under the hood of MPLS as access technology," she said.
Evans noted the boom in managed services for IP telephony, but added there was plenty of opportunity for the channel to get involved in other areas of managed network services.
"It's a chance for the channel to move up the value chain as these new networks become complex and become more important to business," she said.
The report predicted the total Australian retail and wholesale data services market, worth over $2.6 billion in 2005, will grow to more than $3 billion by 2010.