About a year ago, MSPmentor covered the debate between MSPs opting to pursue hosted VoIP services and those questioning whether such services offered the price/performance edge MSPs needed. A new report from Infonetics Research doesn’t necessarily settle the question of VoIP timing, but does depict a fast-growing hosted VoIP market. The Infonetics study says hosted PBX and unified communications service revenue climbed 33 percent in 2011, while the number of seats rose 44 percent. The uptick likely stems, at least in part, from the smallish base of hosted VoIP business customers.

Diane Myers, directing analyst for VoIP and IMS at Infonetics, said the hosted services side “still makes up a relatively small portion of the overall business telephony market.”

The larger players focused on hosted VoIP also contribute to an expanding market. 8x8 Inc. earlier this year reported that its hosted communications service revenue grew 42 percent year over year in its fiscal third quarter ended December 31. Another push comes from vendors playing the role of master MSPs and offering hosted VoIP services that smaller service providers can market.

Intermedia and Parallels, for example, last year began actively promoting hosted VoIP solutions to channel partners. In 2011, Intermedia debuted a hosted PBX service for partners to white label and resell. Small and mid-sized businesses represent the target market. Parallels, meanwhile, also launched a hosted PBX solution that it sells through the channel. It also pursues the SMB space.

In February, Parallels  followed up its 2011 communications venture with Parallels Automation for Hosted PBX, an offering that lets service providers launch  their own PBX services.

 Managed Services, SIP Trunking Grow

Managed services in the VoIP space are also growing, but at a slower clip in keeping with a somewhat more mature market. Managed IP PBX revenue grew 16 percent in 2011, Myers noted.

Infonetics, meanwhile, identified Session Initiation Protocol (SIP) trunking as a high-growth area, reporting service revenue growth of 128 percent in 2011. The market research firm noted that businesses are snapping up SIP trunking for “flexibility, centralization of resources and cost effective voice connectivity.”

Service providers such as Appia Communications are among those offering SIP trunking along with other offerings such as hosted VoIP. The Infonetics report described SIP trunking as a wide open market for providers, as no single vendor dominates the sector.

Overall, the business VoIP market seems to be gaining some solidity. As with most things, your mileage may vary. But the numbers suggest that at least some companies are finding success in hosted VoIP.