The enterprise telephony market regained some of its lost momentum in the closing months of 2005, with fast sales of IP-based systems lifting the overall growth rate in the Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) region.
Market data from high-tech analyst group Canalys Research shows that the anaemic early-year growth rate of 1.9% increased to 6.3% in the fourth quarter when 5.8 million customer premises equipment lines were shipped. Overall, in 2005, shipments grew by 4% to 21 million lines, although that represented a deceleration from the 7.1% annual growth recorded in 2004.
The slower pace resulted from weakness in several Western European markets, notably Belgium, France, Italy and Sweden, where shipments fell by 6% over the year. In contrast, sales in Russia, the Middle East and Africa rose at more than 20% annually.
While the demand for IP (Internet protocol) lines is on the increase – 54% more were shipped in the last quarter of 2005 compared to a year earlier – they still account for just 19% of the total lines shipped.
The shift to IP has influenced a reshuffle in market leadership positions in the fourth quarter. Alcatel (soon to merge with Lucent) displaced Siemens to lead the market with a 17.1% share.
The gap between these and the ‘second tier’ may still be substantial, but it is closing fast: Alcatel and Siemens grew 1.7% and 3.3% respectively in the quarter, while rivals Nortel and Aastra boasted shipment growth of 24.4% and 28.9%. That gave Nortel a 10.6% share and Aastra 10.2%, and put further distance between them and Avaya, whose market share slipped to 8.7%.
EMEA CPE line shipments, market share Q42005 – Q42006