The UK managed data communications market will grow by 10 per cent in 2004 as firms begin to take up increasingly complex converged voice and data services, research has claimed.
UK corporate customers are looking for reliable service providers capable of providing more complex network management services, such as consolidating inter-office telephone calls over the corporate wide area network, according to analyst Meta Group.
"This creates an opening for providers that do not own network infrastructure but can deliver a high degree of service on top of a network obtained from several carriers," said Larry Velez, programme director at Meta Group, in a statement.
"However, performance can be difficult to assess. In the current conservative IT market, presence is an easy way to choose a vendor.
"Most IT organisations make purchase decisions based on presence criteria and discover service provider performance after it is too late - when already engaged with the provider."
The UK managed communications market is approximately 30 per cent of the total wide area network and national private leased line industry.
Meta Group's analysis found that BT is the managed communications market leader due to its incumbent position, which gives it significant market share and unequalled geographic reach.
The analyst also said that the telco provides competitive pricing, has financial strength, and is renewing its focus on improving customer relationships.
The main challengers to BT include AT&T, Cable & Wireless, Equant, IBM Global Services, Infonet, HP Services and Vanco.
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