Infonetics chartAccording to a recent study, Comcast was ranked first in North America for its hosted VoIP service, while Verizon Business took top honors among IP connectivity providers.

The market research by Infonetics Research analyzed the top service providers in the hosted VoIP and unified communications (UC) services market and the IP connectivity market.

Among hosted VoIP providers, Comcast earned the highest overall score of 33 out of 35, while West, Verizon and 8x8 were also among the top hosted VoIP providers in North America. For the fourth year in a row, Verizon Business earned the highest overall score – 32 out of 35 – for IP connectivity providers, while AT&T, Comcast and XO were among the top providers in North America.

"Comcast’s acquisition of New Global Telecom, the former perennial leader in our business VoIP scorecards, propelled Comcast to the No. 1 position in Infonetics' hosted Business VoIP Leadership Scorecard this year,” said Diane Myers, principal analyst for VoIP and IMS at Infonetics Research.

At the end of last year, many of the top hosted VoIP service providers had more than 100,000 VoIP and UC seats, while others had fewer than 50,000 seats, signaling further consolidation to come, and likely the shuttering of some businesses, according to Infonetics.

"After a banner 2010, 2011 was another year of consolidation in North America among business VoIP service providers,” Myers said. “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."

On the IP connectivity front, Infonetics found that most of the installed base has become concentrated with the large operators, as scale is necessary for a successful business in a service market based on lower prices.

The competitive landscape for hosted VoIP services is also undergoing a transition, with the traditional PBX and UC vendors such as ShoreTel, NEC, Mitel, Avaya and Cisco moving into the cloud.