The US VoIP Market 2016

Peter : On Rad's Radar?
Peter
| Peter Radizeski of RAD-INFO, Inc. talking telecom, Cloud, VoIP, CLEC, and The Channel.

The US VoIP Market 2016

In most topics there are 1 or 2 clear-cut winners (see here). In email, it is Gmail. In Office suites, it is Microsoft. In desktop O/S, it is still MS, despite a flood of Macs. In phones, it is Apple and Android. In cellular, it is AT&T and VZW. In texting, it is WhatsApp, Messenger and Snapchat. In storage, it is Dropbox and then box. In ride-sharing, there is Uber and Lyft, and then everyone else.

In the US, due to a number of regulatory and historic reasons, there are no clear winners in TV, ISP or Voice sectors. You could say that Comcast is one of the biggest ISPs along with TWC and AT&T. In TV, it could be AT&T and Comcast again with DISH and TWC.

In VoIP, especially Hosted PBX/UCaaS, there are brand leaders like 8x8 and RC - each with market caps of $1B (give or take), but Comcast probably adds as many hosted seats per month as they do.

Depending how you parse it out, ThinkingPhones, Evolve IP, West and NTT are big players in the UC&C space. Are there winners in the conferencing space with PGI being bought for $1B and Citrix re-organizing?Who knows. These are mature markets - or even settled markets.

In the virtual phone space that Grasshopper played in before Citrix bought them, is there a clear winner? FV, J2, Google and others play in this space. No one has sucked the air out of the room yet. In fact, this space may become a battle ground as desk phones decline and the workforce goes more virtual. And as the freelance market grows from 35% in the US work force today to 55% in just a few years.

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Despite the recent consolidation in the UCaaS space, there is still no clear winner. Although analysts always peg growth in UCaaS at 20% per year, only a few ITSPs even come close to that number in seat sales (if you take away virtual phones and network).

I'd say the window is closing for a number of reasons. (1) With the billion dollar babies - Vonage, RC, 8x8- things will shift. (2) VCs want their investment back after waiting 5-10 years for this ocean to rise. It will force some sales (like it did last year). (3) MS and Cisco will put the heat on at the top of the market pyramid (enterprise, Fortune 5000); (4) most ITSPs have not figured out the sales process yet, so the winners will be the ones who put the Sales Machine in place now that it is so expensive per click.

The winners will be by segment. The same company at the bottom of the pyramid will not be the winner at the top. As Vonage Business execs are finding out, it is hard to sell that logo into an enterprise. As 8x8 experienced, moving up to mid-market is an expensive and time consuming effort. West had a $15 million client leave to go to single vendor!!! Do you see how this will likely play out?

In a debate on Fred Wilson's blog about Netflix versus networks, is it the packaging ro the content? I think it is the User Experience, integration, education, bundle, deployment (which I guess is packaging).

No clear winners yet but it will be fun to watch in 2016 - as it was fun to watch in 2015. It gets started in Lauderdale in less than 3 weeks. See you there! (*and if you want help with that sales machine, give me a shout)



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