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More than half of small businesses expect to adopt discount Internet Protocol phones in the near future, according to a survey released Tuesday by a developer of information technology equipment.

Of the 551 executive officers of companies with 20 or fewer employees in Tokyo, Nagoya and Osaka directly interviewed for the survey, 54.2 percent said they expect their companies’ phone systems to shift to IP phones from conventional fixed-line telephones within three years, Forval Corp. said.

Meanwhile, 33.2 percent said they will stick with the existing fixed-line system.

According to the survey, conducted in May and June, 69.1 percent of respondents expect their companies to be using Nippon Telegraph and Telephone Corp. group phone services after three years. Some 7.3 percent expect to be using services offered by telecommunications venture businesses and 7.1 percent said they would probably opt for the services of the KDDI Corp. group.

Asked about anxieties over increased IT use in business operations, 44.3 percent of the executives felt they may be unable to keep up with related knowledge. The multiple-choice question also found 41.6 percent afraid they will be unable to use future versions of IT equipment, and 32.8 percent concerned about information leaks as a result of illegal access.

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