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Service Provider VoIP Deployment Plans

Network operators around the world will continue to expand their deployment of VOIP products and services, driven mainly by fear of losing voice revenues to established and emerging competitors, according to a major new report from Heavy Reading.

"Over the next two years, carriers expect a big surge in the proportion of voice traffic that is VOIP," notes Graham Finnie, Senior Analyst at Heavy Reading and author of the report. "Half the respondents surveyed said that more than 50 percent of their voice traffic would be IP by 2007, with relatively little difference expected between VOIP in core networks and VOIP in access networks."

The single biggest reason for deploying VOIP is fear that traffic would otherwise migrate to competitors' networks. Not surprisingly, perhaps, this view is especially true among incumbent telcos: More than three-quarters of incumbent respondents saw fear of traffic loss as important or critically important to their VOIP strategy.

More than 75 percent of survey respondents said their company had already deployed VOIP in some part of its network, and within 12 months that figure will rise to almost 90 percent. At the same time, more than half of respondents said that less than 10 percent of traffic, both access and core, was VOIP today, and the proportion of customers with VOIP-enabled terminals or handsets was even lower.

Most network operators with softswitches deployed in their network have opted for integrated devices � but the data suggests there will be a trend toward distributed softswitches in the next two years. Access media gateways are the most widely deployed VOIP network equipment today, and 84 percent of respondents expect to be using them within two years. However, the highest growth in uptake of VOIP equipment is expected to be in media servers and session border controllers or other policy control equipment.

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