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Providers Target Managed VoIP Services

Service providers want a piece of enterprise VoIP spending. Here's a look at how they're doing.

Over the past year and a half, major carriers such as AT&T and Verizon have feverishly rolled out managed services. While these providers are interested in getting a slice of the hosted voice-over-IP and managed customer-premises-equipment, or CPE, markets, the number of businesses interested in deploying these services hasn't grown substantially in the past few years.

"Service providers want a piece of enterprise VoIP and CPE spending," says Matthias Machowinski, directing analyst of enterprise voice and data at Infonetics Research Inc. "They don't want to just provide a dumb pipe to the network, so that's why they're rolling out these services," Machowinski says.

Businesses have several choices in how they deploy voice over IP. They can implement it using in-house resources, a hosted VoIP service provider, or managed CPE services. Many businesses want to stay in operational control of their voice-over- IP networks. This is the main reason why they aren't signing up with services providers, Machowinski says.

chart -- Voice Equipment -- How is telephone service provided at your headquarters, and what do you expect by 2007?Companies also are concerned with the operational costs associated with managed and hosted services. While up-front costs for hosted or managed services usually are low, monthly fees that services providers charge can run more than in-house deployment of voice over IP.

Ensuring the security of voice-over-IP networks also is a concern. "Businesses are becoming aware of the security implications of putting voice on a data network because, when voice traffic becomes data traffic, there are many threats it's being exposed to," Machowinski says. "VoIP isn't going to happen overnight, but there's going to be a long-term migration" to it.

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