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VoIP and Mobile Telephony Overtaking Fixed Landlines in the UK

December 10, 2014

By Laura Stotler - Virtual PBX Contributing Editor

The U.K. has traditionally been ahead of the U.S. when it comes to mobile telephony, so it should come as no surprise that traditional fixed line connections are dying there at an astonishing rate. The point was driven home recently with the announcement that U.K. telecoms are getting set to increase their fixed-line phone charges.

While this news would have caused a major upheaval in the past, it’s simply a non-issue today. According to a recent blog in Huffington Post UK, there is very little demand for fixed landline connections, which is bad news for the traditional telecom companies. U.K. telecom regulator Ofcom revealed that three billion fewer minutes were spent on landline calls in June of this year compared to the previous year, for an overall reduction of 12.7 percent. That translates to about $133 million in lost revenue, which is a sizeable chunk of change.

The blog cites some other statistics that underscore the impending death of the fixed line connection. For instance, in October, the EU Commission said they would no longer regulate fixed-line calls since so few people bother to use them. The Commission pointed to popular alternatives like VoIP solutions consisting of virtual PBXs and IP-PBXs as well as mobile calls as the reason for the decline.

"There has been a decrease in volume of fixed calls as customers have turned to alternative solutions, such as voice-over-IP (VoIP) and mobile calls, but also to alternative providers, like Over-the-Top (OTT) players," said Neelie Kroes, the outgoing VP for the Commission overseeing communications and technology.

According to research from RootMetrics, 95 percent of U.K. residents would not struggle if they were deprived of a fixed landline phone. And VoIP services and solutions are steadily picking up the slack as people abandon their landlines. In China, for instance, the WeChat VoIP app boasts more than 600 million global users and has experienced a 150 percent increase in customers during the last 18 months. India-based Nimbuzz has 200 million users in 210 countries and recently launched a free call management app for Android devices.

While these applications are largely geared toward personal use, VoIP apps and solutions are steadily penetrating the enterprise space as well. In the global market, Infonetics Research predicts a seven percent CAGR for worldwide business VoIP services from 2012 to 2017. It’s clearly only a matter of time before the traditional landline, and the legacy services tethered to it, are gone for good.

Edited by Alisen Downey



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