Global Economics

The Home Phone As We Know It is Dead


The landline as we know it is all but extinct, according to telco industry analysts.

Two reports by JupiterResearch have found the traditional PSTN phones currently sitting comfortably in most UK homes are soon to be replaced by VoIP and mobile, as users seek greater flexibility from their telecoms.

The research found that 27 per cent of consumers are keen to use their mobile phone in place of their home phone on a regular basis, while 17 per cent of users would consider switching to a more expensive broadband package if they can save money on calls with VoIP.

Ian Fogg, analyst at JupiterResearch, said: "The idea of the traditional home phone as something you only use at home won't be true going forward. Consumers have a lot more options around the home phone, it's not just fixed at home - it's a phone to go, a takeaway phone."

Currently, 21 per cent of consumers are interested in diverting their home telephone to a mobile phone to answer calls while away from home.

The analyst house predicts that once telecoms move from analogue to digital, phone numbers will become unfixed, used by consumers on the go and possibly over their mobiles as well.

However, the VoIP market in the UK remains immature - it has so far not broken into the mainstream, attracting early adopter customers only.

Fogg told silicon.com: "VoIP is genuinely happening in Europe and the UK is lagging behind its European neighbours. Companies have made other types of cheap telephony available and cable companies haven't got a great incentive to launch VoIP as their traditional telecoms business is mature."

The telco most often associated with the humble landline, BT, now makes just 12 per cent of its revenue from old school landlines.

A BT spokesman told silicon.com that some customers aren't comfortable with relinquishing their landlines but technology is changing around them.

He said: "There's still going to be a place for landline for certain people - some are more resilient to 'new fangled' technology than others. It's undeniably true PSTN calls are declining but the market is changing. The home phone is evolving - what is VoIP if it's not a means of making calls?"

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