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Vonage Holdings Corp. Reports Fourth Quarter and Full Year 2013 Results

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Vonage, a VT2142 and a RTP300, My Experiences - A Detailed Review
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Vonage Reviews

Wireless Usurps Landline Phones


Vonage In Print News

March 2, 2004

By Andrew Mayeda

It has served us well, the telephone.

In the roughly 125 years since Alexander Graham Bell gave his assistant a call in the next room, it has become the most common technological device on the planet.

But, the traditional wireline phone is ringing a lot less frequently these days.

With people increasingly tapping at keyboards or nattering on cellphones to get their message across, an unprecedented number of households and businesses are snipping their phone lines.

According to Statistics Canada, roughly 230,000 Canadian homes have no wireline connection.

An Ipsos-Reid poll shows one in 10 Canadians have reduced the phone lines they use because of e-mail.

Is it time to write the epitaph of the old-fashioned telephone?

The answer isn't so simple.

Experts agree the classic wireline, circuit-based phone will continue to fall from use. But as phone and cable giants transform their networks into Internet-based platforms, the phone sitting in our homes and offices will probably continue to look a lot like the one we use now. What stands to change most is how often we use it, how we are connected and who cashes in.

The telephone as we know it is dying. Long live the telephone.

Iain Grant and Brian Sharwood, analysts at telecom consultancy SeaBoard Group, believe the advent of Internet Protocol, or IP, networks will radically alter global communications.

Traditional phone lines transmit conversations through circuit-based networks that usually maintain a single connection throughout the call.

IP networks break that conversation into packets of digital data that take different routes and reassemble them on the other side. That allows the capacity of the network's "pipes" to be more efficiently allocated. It also allows voice, text and video data to flow through the same pipe.

In a research report entitled It's Not Your Parent's Phone, Grant and Sharwood predict IP technology will shatter the barriers between phone, cable and wireless networks.

All of these will fold into a single IP platform enabling phone, TV, e-mail and Web-surfing services, among others.
For consumers, the change won't necessarily be visible.

We will no doubt continue to communicate with each other by phone-like devices, though they will work on IP technology and may have added video or text messaging features.

"Curiously this metamorphosis, however, radical, will be transparent to the user of communication services --at least transparent at the 'plain old telephone service' level," Grant and Sharwood write.

Mark Quigley, a telecom analyst at Yankee Group Canada, also doesn't think much will change on the surface for users.

"Voice communications, whether it's delivered over a switch network or a packet network, is still going to remain an integral part of people's everyday lives," he said.

And analysts say phone rates, especially long distance, will keep falling.

But the most drastic change will likely be at the industry level, where an increasingly wide range of players will be able to provide voice services.

Cable behemoths such as Rogers and Shaw will soon offer phone services over their high-speed Internet connections.

Voice over IP upstarts such as Vonage in the United States and Primus here are offering low-cost plans that remove the need for a traditional phone line.

Even power utilities, with their extensive fibre-optic networks have the potential to become phone companies in the new IP order.

And don't forget the world of wireless. Cellphones have continued to improve in reliability and add features such as text messaging, making them increasingly attractive substitutes for fixed-line phones. With the evolution of IP technology, moreover, there is no reason why consumers couldn't make calls over a Wireless Fidelity, or Wi-Fi, connection at home or work.

Add voice options on online instant messaging services, and you have a world where you could get Internet access from your power company, watch TV on your computer and buy a cellphone from a cable provider. All without paying a phone company a cent.



 
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†AK and HI residents pay $29.95 shipping. ††Limited time offer. Valid for residents of the United States (&DC), 18 years or older, who open new accounts. Offer good while supplies last and only on new account activations. One kit per account/household. Offer cannot be combined with any other discounts, promotions or plans and is not applicable to past purchases. Good while supplies last. Allow up to 2 weeks for shipping. Other restrictions may apply.

1Unlimited calling and other services for all residential plans are based on normal residential, personal, non-commercial use. A combination of factors is used to determine abnormal use, including but not limited to: the number of unique numbers called, calls forwarded, minutes used and other factors. Subject to our Reasonable Use Policy and Terms of Service.

2Shipping and activation fees waived with 1-year agreement. An Early Termination Fee (with periodic pro-rated reductions) applies if service is terminated before the end of the first 12 months. Additional restrictions may apply. See Terms of Service for details.

HIGH SPEED INTERNET REQUIRED. †VALID FOR NEW LINES ONLY. RATES EXCLUDE INTERNET SERVICE, SURCHARGES, FEES AND TAXES. DEVICE MAY BE REFURBISHED. If you subscribe to plans with monthly minutes allotments, all call minutes placed from both from your home and registered ExtensionsTM phones will count toward your monthly minutes allotment. ExtensionsTM calls made from mobiles use airtime and may incur surcharges, depending on your mobile plan. Alarms, TTY and other systems may not be compatible. Vonage 911 service operates differently than traditional 911. See www.vonage.com/911 for details.

** Certain call types excluded.

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