APAC Businesses Adopting VOIP, 3G Platforms

A report from AMI Partners predicts long-term growth for smartphones, 3G networks and VOIP capability in the APAC region, consisting of Australia, Japan and Korea.

Small business owners in Australia, Japan and Korea are seeing continued growth of voice over IP and triple play services, strong competition among 3G mobile operators in their telecommunications sector markets and the uptake of fiber-to-the-premises services, according to a report from research firm Access Markets International Partners.

The report also noted big strides have been taken in developing digital and mobile broadcasting, while small business owners in that region have been gradually moving away from DSL services. The SMB (small to mid-size business) telecom market for Australia, Japan and Korea (known as the APAC region) was approximately $40 billion in 2008.

A majority of the total developed APAC SMB spend came from Japan with VOIP and mobile data services making up for declines in legacy service offerings. Korea SMBs accounted for the next largest opportunity, driven by the growth of IP video telephony and WiMax development. As broadband uptake for SMBs in Australia continues, 2008 saw a major shift from basic access to VOIP and hosted services being adopted by SMBs, the report said.

Gina Luk, AMI's Asia-Pacific telecommunications and networking research manager, said the aggregate opportunity of the APAC SMB telecom market is shrinking primarily due to continued displacement in local phone and long-distance service spending. "Nonetheless, there are substantial growth areas; in order to be more productive in a mobile environment, firms migrate to IP telephony and continue to adopt smartphones and data plans," she said. "Video and Web conferencing are increasingly gaining traction as these are driven by cost-cutting initiatives and the need to be more efficient and collaborative."

AMI listed Cisco, Avaya, Alcatel-Lucent, Nortel and NEC as the key IP communications vendors in the developed APAC SMB market. The company predicted their market success in this region will continue to be based on shifting their customers' focus from voice features to the network infrastructure supporting a mix of communications, including voice, data, text, image and video.

"The developed APAC SMB telecom market also leads the region's VOIP adoption with next generation IP communications systems deployment that is moving further away from the old voice-centric model toward a desktop applications-centric model that retains the client's server structural design elements," said Luk. AMI also predicted as more workers travel either locally or internationally there will be more occasion for workers to leave laptops in their offices, and use mobile and smartphones, resulting in smartphones becoming a long-term, high-growth category in the SMB market.