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VOIP: Continental Drift?

Light Reading
News Analysis
Light Reading
9/28/2005

Europe's softswitching market is progressing quickly, while the lack of broadband competition is making the U.S. VOIP market a little harder to peg, a European softswitch executive recently told LRTV. (See NetCentrex CTO Olivier Hersent).

When LRTV spoke to NetCentrex SA CTO Olivier Hersent, he presented the residential U.S. VOIP market as something that's not especially exciting, at least not yet. If consumers had more broadband choice, though, the availability of distinct VOIP offerings might matter more.

"The opportunity for residential services is really huge, and I think it’s clear especially in Europe," said Hersent.

Hersent says Europe will have 27 million subscribers of voice-over-IP services by 2007. Right now, depending on the estimations, there are 2 to 4 million, he says. "So that’s still a lot of growth in front of us."

In the United States, says Hersent, it's a different picture. He believes that the lack of broadband competition is slowing the rollout of residential VOIP.

"Bundling VOIP doesn’t bring you a lot if you don’t have competition. What [VOIP] brings to long distance is very clear in the U.S., and that’s why you get Vonage and essentially a new breed of long-distance companies.

"The problem is there is no money in long-distance telephony anyway. So the business case for VOIP in the U.S. is much tougher."

Hersent also acknowledged that the U.S. market's problems trickle right down to the VOIP equipment providers, as well. "I think that market is still in a positioning phase, and that’s really how we see the landscape right now."

LRTV's interview with Hersent is but one of four new programs posted in recent weeks. LRTV also interviewed finance expert Dr. James Dodd, provided a comprehensive overview of the European telecom market, and worked with Cisco to discuss the market forces and technology driving more carriers to consider using ROADMs. All LRTV interviews come with a complete transcript. (See Dr. James Dodd, ROADM Overview, and Future of Telecom – Europe.)

Coming up next, LRTV will present its interview with John Souter, CEO of The London Internet Exchange Ltd. (LINX). Stay tuned, as they say.

— Phil Harvey, News Editor, Light Reading

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