Going Wireless

VoicenData Bureau
New Update

India, Australia, South Korea and China put together contributed 75% of the

total APAC enterprise telephony market, as per a Frost & Sullivan report.

Resilient performance in these countries helped reduce the magnitude of decline

across the APAC enterprise telephony market. Higher growth is expected from

India and China in the forthcoming quarters.


In India, the PBX market size is around Rs 800 crore. Market in terms of

number of lines would be around 3 to 3.5 mn per year. Small and medium sized

PBXs form a significant portion due to their sheer numbers.

The worldwide PBX sales grew by approximately 1% last year. However, in

2008-09 the market grew by almost 7% reportedly.

Expert Panel

Sajeev Nair, head, product management, Matrix Telecom

Minhaj Zia, national sales manager, unified communications, India &
SAARC, Cisco

Shridhar Kadam, VP, product management, DIGILINK


The economic slowdown has had a negative impact on every sector. In India,

the growth in the government sector has gone up, which in turn has compensated

for the slowdown in other sectors. Purchase orders have been reduced or stopped

or deferred; however, there are signs of recovery. The market will start showing

reasonable growth this year onwards.

The Technology

The PBX technology can be divided into three categories-analog, digital, (PCM-TDM)

and IP. Analog technology is prevalent in mainly small PBX up to sixteen lines.

Digital (PCM-TDM) PBXs with ISDN BRI and PRI interfaces are popular in all

configurations up to 500 lines. And the penetration of IP PBX technology is on

the rise. There are still some regulatory issues resulting in confusion in the

market regarding the usage of IP for voice communication. But once it is

resolved, IP is likely to replace PCM-TDM sooner than the industry expects.

IP telephony technology has gained a strong mindset in the mainstream market.

Enterprises are deploying hybrid and IP-PBX systems even for PSTN network. In

fact, the demand has percolated from large enterprise networks down to SMBs

since they too have realized the immense benefits that these systems can offer.

Reduction in equipments costs and the lower TCO has made them adopt these

systems with greater vigor.


Further, high speed broadband, inexpensive end terminals, and international

long distance carrier options will encourage the growth of VoIP in India.

Increase in the adoption of unified communication applications, availability of

required bandwidth, and increased awareness levels will drive the growth of the

Indian VoIP market.

The industry is moving towards unification. Enterprise and carrier networks

are overlapping in functionality. The way forward in such a scenario is to offer

comprehensive solutions catering to different market segments like SOHO, SME and

large enterprises. Extensive customer reach backed by high quality service

support will be the differentiating factor. Offering solutions for verticals

like hospitality, trading, etc, will generate a new market segment. IP converged

network is a basic requirement of an enterprise now. Real-time IP applications

on converged networks will revolutionize the enterprise communications market.

Wireless PBX

Exponential growth in the personal mobile telephony has led to the evolution

of various wireless technologies and convergence of these technologies like

Wi-Fi, WiMax, GSM, 3G and CDMA that has given birth to wireless PBX. These are

technologies which are built on to perform on the IP or PCM/TDM platform.


Enterprises that are widely spread and having many of its employees who work

on mobile will require opting for wireless PBX for the obvious benefits of round

the clock connectivity, easy deployment and cost.

Migration to IP

IP based voice transport has matured in the last one year, and has seen the

world of telecommunications undergoing a humongous change. IP based voice is

today universally regarded as the future of telecommunications. Data previously

went over voice networks, as data was a small constituent of the overall

telecommunications traffic. Existing circuit-switched networks are not optimized

for data and not that efficient.

The last decade has seen the greatest technological shift in voice

communications in over a century. The maturing of IP based voice transport has

seen the world of telecommunication undergoing a tectonic shift.

Tips For CIOs

  • Never deploy any PBX system, be for wireless and IP-PBX, just for the

    sake of technology adoption. It should be done as per the need, otherwise

    it can burn a hole, without much RoI
  • Before deploying IP-PBX, one has to be well versed with the regulatory

    issues. The technology might be available for some applications, but the

    regulation could be a hurdle
  • The industry is moving towards unification. Enterprise and carrier

    networks are overlapping in functionality. The way forward in such a

    scenario is to go for a solution offering comprehensive solutions catering

    as per the need
  • Healthy bottomline, reduced administrative expenses, extended business

    reach, boost in productivity, and immense returns on infrastructure

    investments are the key benefits of IP-PBX
  • Proper planning should be done for migration to the new technology.

    The process and the challenges should be understood, so that business is

    not affected
  • The installation should be done properly, otherwise could be

    problematic in the future. A certified installer/integrator should be

    given the responsibility

Today customers are looking at unified communications to solve the

communication chaos by integrating their various communication systems with

their business applications to improve their business processes. These improved

business processes lead to higher productivity for employees and greater

customer satisfaction which in turn results in higher revenues and profits.

Growth is expected in the SMB markets, and vendors will concentrate more in

this sector as more people look to start up small businesses or work from home.

Most of the growth will be observed from the government vertical this year as

well for PBX vendors over the next year. Customer awareness has been increased

by vendors on the benefits of IP PBXs, this helps them to overcome the fear of

new technology in turbulent times as was recently witnessed.


What Lies Ahead?

PBX market is moving towards IP technology. Although IP is being accepted as

the next wave in communications across all enterprise segments, some of the key

industries that are first movers include ITeS and ITS, banking and finance,

government, and manufacturing.

Enterprises have realized the value of VoIP given its inherent cost

effectiveness, ease of deployment and management since it allows enterprises to

invest in a single communication pipe that can deliver voice and data

communications to the enterprise desktop. Best suited for multi-location

industries, VoIP is being deployed in IT services and BPO companies,

manufacturing, telecom service providers, banking and financial services


With reference to India, omnipresent POTS and GSM would still play a major

role in offering connectivity across the length and breadth of India. The

requirement sought after would be hybrid IP solutions. The demand for unified

communications would also grow among enterprises. The traditional PBX market

will come down. It is expected that the PBX industry will grow from 20% to 25%

in line with the expected Indian GDP growth of 10%.

However, the challenges would be to address the requirement of customized

solutions. Service providers being bulk buyers are pushing the price level down.

Above all, the vague regulatory policy for the usage of VoIP network in India is

restricting the expansion of VoIP to a certain extent. The secondary challenges

would be competition from the unorganized players and cheap products from across

the border.

Akhilesh Shukla