The enterprise telephony two horse race

Alcatel and Siemens are neck-and-neck in the race to be the top enterprise telephony vendor, with Alcatel just nudging ahead. New figures for global shipments of customer premises equipment (CPE) by high-tech analyst group Canalys, show that Paris-headquartered Alcatel finished the second fiscal quarter 2006 with a market share of 15.5%, putting it just 0.2% ahead of its German rival.

Meanwhile competition is fierce elsewhere, as Avaya, Aastra and Nortel battle for third place. The latter narrowly pushed ahead in the quarter, finishing with 10.7% of the pie, whilst Avaya and Aastra both held a 9.9% market share.

Overall, CPE line shipments increased year-on-year by 6.4%, bringing the total for the first six months of 2006 to 10.8 million. Within the Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) region, there was significant growth within Central and Eastern Europe, although the more mature Western European market exhibited a small year-on-year decline. EMEA continued to occupy the largest share of the global market, accounting for 42% of the pie.

Big news this quarter was Microsoft’s announcement of its entrance into the enterprise telephony market through an alliance with Nortel.

According to an analyst at Canalys, the impact of Microsoft’s arrival will not materialise immediately as it will be challenged to develop an adequate channel to market, either through recruiting specialist resellers or converting existing partners to sell telephony. According to the research, in the overall market, indirect channels, including resellers, service providers and systems integrators, accounted for 87% of sales in the second quarter of 2006.

Canalys predicts that the enterprise telephony market will continue to experience healthy growth, as companies replace legacy systems installed in preparation for the Y2K upheaval. After peaking at 24.6 million CPE line shipments in 2009, the market is expected to fall back to 24.3 million lines in 2010.

Pete Swabey

Pete Swabey

Pete was Editor of Information Age and head of technology research for Vitesse Media plc from 2005 to 2013, before moving on to be Senior Editor and then Editorial Director at The Economist Intelligence...

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