The Status of Local Telephone Competition

David Byrd : Byrd's Eye View
David Byrd
Chief Marketing Officer for ANPI

The Status of Local Telephone Competition

The recent status report issued by the FCC this month is chalk full of statistics with little narrative but one can draw quite a few conclusions from the data. The easy conclusions are a) wireline connections continue to drop, b) wireless and VoIP connections continue to rise c) ILECs are still looking for a future strategy while the CLECs and wireless companies are executing a strategy. One principally based upon IP communications.

According to the report, In December 2011, there were 107 million end-user switched access lines, 37 million VoIP subscriptions, and 298 million mobile accounts for a grand total of 442 million retail local telephone service connections. These are just simple accumulations until you get to the next set of numbers and it is here that the trend is magnified. From 2008 to 2011 VoIP subscriptions had a CAGR of 19.0%, exceeding both mobile subscriptions (4.5%) and the once mighty landline, which declined 8.8% a year over the period. While I did not know the exact numbers, the trend has been consistent in each of the reports I have covered since I began this blog in November of 2008. Previously, the blog was called SIP and Serve by a Foodie (check the archives).

Yet, the numbers that presented my wake up call for today were those involving both the adoption rate and suppliers of VoIP. Residential VoIP subscription now represents 22% of the residential installed base, however, the adoption rate of VoIP by business subscribers lags by a substantial amount with a 4% level of penetration. While there are number of possible reasons for this, I would like to first present an even larger point regarding VoIP and that is with regard to the ILEC and Non-ILEC VoIP sales activity.

Out of 100% of residential lines, the ILECS VoIP deployments represent 5% of the total. It is the Non-ILECs that are supplying the vast majority of VoIP currently representing 32.2% of residential lines. Although, this six to one ratio clearly shows where the two groups are moving with regard to non-wireless services, the ratio is even greater when examining the same numbers for business. Business VoIP subscription satisfied by the ILECs is 0.9% with Non-ILECS delivering 8.6%. The data shows that less than 10% of business communications is performed using VoIP but their demand for such services is received with much less enthusiasm by the ILECs than the Non-ILECs. This is also consistent with the primary reason that businesses make the transition to VoIP which is to reduce the cost of their communications services.

More on the reasons for these trends next week.

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