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Death of the Fixed Line

We just read an interesting article on the BBC website which has announced that the main suppliers of fixed lines are increasing the line rental by five times the rate of inflation. It appears that Sky, Virgin, BT and Talk Talk are all upping their rates by up to 6.5%.

telephoneThe most likey reason for this is the fact that less and less voice traffic is taking place over the traditional landlines at home - indeed the number of minutes talked last year dropped by almost 13% compared to the previous year. That equates to a drop in revenue of some £85 million to the operators. The factors causing the drop in traffic is that more and more people are adopting alternative means of communications such as app based ( Snapchat, Facebook messenger, Viber, Whatsapp to name a few); IP based ( Google Hangouts, Skype ) or just plain old old fashioned SMS texting. These figures explain the drop in call volume on home landlines although the actual number of landlines has increased over the last few years whereas the number of business lines has decreased.

Phone Usage Trends

The factors leading these numbers are many of course but to simplify :

1 - the demand for landlines is not increasing, rather the fact that the majority of home broadband suppliers bundle in a 'no option' landline rental along with al their contracts has led to many households being forced to have a landline installed along with their internet/ TV connection.

2 - many businesses are switching over to IP ( VoIP ) for their voice and data traffic. Rather than traditional telephone systems which require lines the traffic is transmitted via the internet allowing cheaper calls and a vast infrastructure of call handling systems such as IP systems, Unified Communications and Microsoft Lync to govern their usage.

3 - mobile phone use has grown almost exponentially over the past decade both in consumer and business environments. Many consumer contracts have so many free minutes bundles in with them that there is no cause to use the landline and coverage has improved year on year - all making the fixed line phone approach redundancy. In the workplace the concept of BYOD ( Bring Your Own Device ) has proliferated and mobiles are a part of normal day today business communications with some telephone systems being able to route calls to mobiles.

Fixed Line in Business

As mentioned previously many businesses are recognising the advantages in opting for the VoIP telephone system - these give the user more flexibility in determining and managing the operability of their telecoms infrastructure whilst delivering scalable solutions. Of course the PSTN is still in heavy use - with some people either experiencing performance issues with IP due to local loads or implementation and some services concerned that power or broadband delivery problems will cut off their entire communications service. A guide to some of the pros and cons of PSTN and VoIP systems can be found here : Telephone Systems Buyer's Guide