There’s a battle on the street folks.
Hide yo’ momma. Hide yo’ daddy. Hide yo’ kids.
The under $100 turf wars are on!
It use to be that the only VoIP phones you could find under $100 came from Grandstream or some unheard of Chinese manufacturer. After all this VoIP technology was simply too “advanced” for it to be “cheap.”
As the years rolled on, Grandstream dominated this market. That is until late 2007/early 2008 when other manufacturers started to sense that under $100 was where it was at.
Why? Well a few reasons:
- Grandstream was quickly rising in popularity. Their VoIP phones weren’t the prettiest, but they worked and were cost effective.
- Asterisk and other open source platform were taking off. But if you’re not paying for the software, chances are you’re not paying for an expensive phone.
- Customers were use to analog phone pricing. Most businesses and consumers balked at the cost of “business grade” phones from the likes of Cisco and Polycom.
- There was looming economic uncertainly of a magnitude few predicted, but many sensed.
- There was volume. Lots of it.
Armed with this manufacturers hurried to deliver compelling under $100 VoIP phones to market. Inside of an 18 month span everyone had an at least one or two VoIP phones under $100.
Offerings from Aastra, Cisco, Grandstream, Polycom, Siemens Gigaset and snom appeared. They were relatively feature rich and quite popular.
From one manufacturer to over eight. And in an 18 month span, thanks in part to a budget crippling recessionary period, the under $100 VoIP phone market became the most hotly contested market in the VoIP equipment industry.
It seemed that the corners once dominated by Grandstream, with their Budgetone series and benchmark GXP2000, were now crowded with others slingin’ similar offerings. Customers could now get their VoIP phone fix from any number of manufacturers.
A price war ensued.
Try as the MAP cops may price erosion came and with it a little known company, poised to save the day. In early 2009 Yealink came on the scene.
Little known and overlooked by many, Yealink arrived just in time to deliver what every supplier was looking for – a solid series of VoIP phones with a pleasant design aesthetic that were easy to configure, deploy and use to be sold at a under $100 price point all without sacrificing margin.
Dubbed (personally) the “poor man’s Cisco” the early Yealink phones found fans within the open source space and even with hosted service providers, who are always looking for ways to differentiate (and make more money).
As time went on Yealink has grown to have an increasingly larger presence on the corner of under $100 avenue.
That leads us to today where the under $100 VoIP phone turf wars rage on. There’s still no clear cut winner, except for customers, nor is there a clear cut loser.
Despite moves in on their turf, Grandstream’s GXP series remains as popular as ever. Aastra’s 673Xi series is popular with small businesses and hosted VoIP providers. So too are the offerings from Polycom and Cisco, who have both aggressively gone after this market the last few years. Siemens has found a home in the SOHO space and snom is making moves in the Microsoft world.
There’s a battle on the street folks. One that’s not soon to be over.
So pick your sides wisely. Because their sure are enough ones to choose from.