Carriers and End Users Work Through Tough Times


It's been a tough time for everyone, but companies are not being short-sighted about their voice communications, according to a new report from Infonetics Research.


The report says that cuts in services in some companies are being matched almost buck-for-buck by planned increases at other companies. Services such as long distance, trunking and conferencing are being cut, but capital investments that promise overall spending reductions still are being made. VoIP, which fits into that category, continues to grow. Time-division multiple access (TDM) services continue to be used, however.

IDC also weighed in. The firm sees slow times ahead for the worldwide telecommunications sector. It predicts that growth will slow to 3.2 percent this year and, due to consolidation and maturation, hit 2.1 percent in 2012.


The bookend to what is happening for carriers is the action on end-user front. There is of good news for this group: The complex and decentralized nature of telecommunications billing, especially on the wireless side, means that a tremendous amount of fat can be cut from budgets once the decision is made to do the difficult work of searching for it. Wired and wireless service plans are so complex-especially for companies that operate in many locales and support many different devices-that it is almost certain an organization is not getting the best deal it can unless it is proactively seeking it out.


Expert to hear a lot about telecom expense management (TEM) in the future. In April, I interviewed Joe Basili, the managing director of The Telecom Expense Management Industry Association (TEMIA), the TEM industry group. The striking thing was how many ways exist to cut companies' spending on telecommunications services.


Basili, who welcomed five new members to TEMIA this week, rattled off a number of ways to cut costs, each of which seemed likely to slice a significant chunk off the bottom line. This wasn't nickel-and-dime stuff. He was just getting warmed up when I brought the interview to a close. The bottom line is that dealing with telecom is so foreboding that many organizations haven't even taken rudimentary steps. Now is the time to take those steps.