Comcast (News - Alert) finished 2011 as the highest-rated hosted VoIP and unified communication (UC) service provider in North America, chiefly due to its recent acquisition of New Global Telecom, a former perennial leader in the business VoIP arena, according to a recent study by Infonetics (News - Alert) Research.
The nation's largest cable operator earned a 33 out of a possible 35 points for its hosted VoIP services, finishing ahead of West, Verizon (News - Alert) and 8x8 as the top provider in North America.
"After a banner 2010, 2011 was another year of consolidation in North America among business VoIP service providers," said Diane Myers, principal analyst for VoIP and IMS at Infonetics Research (News - Alert). "Though there are still a large number of VoIP service providers in North America, consolidation is starting to separate the large providers from the rest of the pack."
Top hosted VoIP providers like Comcast and West ended 2011 with north of 100,000 VoIP and UC seats. Other competitors, meanwhile, had fewer than 50,000 seats, "signaling further consolidation to come, and likely the shuttering of some businesses," according to Infonetics officials.
However, traditional PBX and UC vendors like ShoreTel, NEC (News - Alert), Mitel, Avaya and Cisco are starting to make their presence felt in the hosted VoIP space, suggesting that a competitive, albeit top-heavy, market may soon be on the horizon.
The other winner in the firm's North America Business VoIP Service Leadership Scorecard was Verizon Business, which earned a high overall score of 32 out of 35 among IP connectivity providers. Verizon Business has now taken home the top honor in the IP connectivity space for four years running.
As with the hosted VoIP market, the IP connectivity landscape is being dominated by larger providers that have the scale necessary to meet demand at a competitive price. AT&T, Comcast and XO rounded out the list of this year's top providers.
Edited by Braden Becker