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Thursday, October 23, 2008

The last nail in the coffin for the idea of massmarket Mobile Centrex?

I've lost count of the presentations I've had over the years for "Mobile PBX" propositions, with all manner of companies asserting that enterprises and SMEs would ditch their fixed telephones in favour of hosted centrex-type services using cellphones.

My mantra has usually been that hosted telephony addresses a 10-20% slice of the corporate marketplace. And that mobile hosted solutions are only good for 10-20% of the 10-20%.

Yes, there will always be some 11-person media company in Helsinki that's used as a case study to highlight the idea, but they are always "corner cases" rather than a typical customer.

But I'm feeling particularly vindicated by the announcement today of a product that finally boots this concept into the long grass as a massmarket trend:

The branded "Vodafone PABX", launched in Portugal, along with a couple of other fixed-line offerings. Yes, I know that Voda has its own centrex-type platforms, but for me this shows that the company knows that dogmatic pursuit of fixed-mobile substitution flies in the face of commercial reality. 

For whatever reason, most companies want their own box, in their office, with reassuring flashing lights on it.

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