The Australian market for Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) services is set to grow by 215 per cent this year, according to industry researcher Frost & Sullivan. Following growth of 182 per cent in 2000, Frost & Sullivan predicts the explosion of growth in the sector to continue until 2004.
Nitin Bhat, network convergence industry manager for the research company, said: "IP networks are emerging as the preferred network for carrying voice in an era of increasing convergence between voice and data."
Geoff Johnson, research director with Gartner Group Asia-Pacific, agreed, saying the trend toward converging voice and data to reduce costs is significant. "Enterprises must determine how data networks will meet voice signalling, low latency and other needs, as well as which data networks will best handle voice traffic."
Bhat said the emergence of IP networks was growing more in Australia as the incumbent carriers, who were once reluctant to carry VoIP, are setting up their own IP-based networks.
Cable & Wireless Optus recently announced it had chosen Clarent to power its global VoIP network management platform for long-distance calling services.
Frost & Sullivan's research predicted that by the end of 2002, more than 20 per cent of long-distance traffic in Australia would be carried on IP networks.
The Australian Catholic University (ACU) recently installed VoIP across its six campuses and expects the system to slash its phone costs by 50 per cent.
According to Will Daniels, national infrastructure manager for the university, "There are still a few quality issues being worked through. Primarily we have had problems with dropouts and fading."
According to the company's research on the Asia-Pacific VoIP services and gateway market, Cisco Systems dominated the market in 2000 with more than 40 per cent market share and is expected to maintain its position this year.
Motorola was second in the enterprise segment, with Nortel Networks securing the same spot in the carrier segment.