Will landline phone become obsolete ?

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Do you remember those pay phones? Those telltale rectangular boothsboxes of glass placed at every other free spot for your conversation convenience? Well, if you didn't notice, they're quickly becoming a thing of the past. If current trends continue, landline phones may soon join pay phones in the technology graveyard. Although at www.bangolufsenphone.com they seem to think otherwise.

When was the last time you remembered someone's home number? It's been a while, isn't it, as more people are beginning to make the most of their calls on mobile phones. In the U.S. and Europe, roughly 75 percent of the respective populations are wireless subscribers [source: Mobile Internet, Wireless Industry News]. Some European countries even expect to exceed 100 percent wireless penetration soon, due to customers purchasing multiple telephones [source: Mobile Pipeline].

As of late 2009, 16 percent of United States households had not one landline whatsoever, compared to just 5 percent in 2005 [source: Associated Press]. If that fast trend of dumping landlines continues, half of the U.S. could be without one in about 10 years.

Among the families who have landlines in the U.S., 13 percent nevertheless rely on their mobile phones for the majority of their calls. Across the country, people are hanging up their home phones:

•In New York state, the number of landline subscribers has fallen by 55 percent since the year 2000.
•New Jersey landline subscribers have decreased by 50 percent.
•Similar trends exist Down Under, where industry analysts expect 1.4 million Aussies to cancel their landlines by the end of 2011. [source: Associated Press, Cauley, Woolrich].

People who have made the switch cite several benefits. Wireless communication saves money on local and long-distance phone charges, frees people up from their desks and prevents having to lay new cables. Laymen Global, the New Jersey company, saved $4,600 on its phone bill by forgoing landlines [source: Runner].

Yet other people aren't convinced that landlines have outstayed their welcome. While VoIP, cell phones and other wireless communication methods can save money, landline stalwarts don't believe a switch is warranted. They argue that the cost of replacement technology can easily eclipse the savings recouped by not installing cable. In addition, local- and long-distance phone charges may be cheaper, but that's not always the case. Making VoIP calls from overseas, for instance, can result in hefty charges.

Security is another factor for people to consider before letting go of their landlines. It's much easier for hackers to gain access to conversations on a cell phone or through VoIP than it is on a traditional phone line. Some people on the front lines of communications technology think that security concerns could prevent many companies from turning entirely away from landlines [source: Runner].

If you still find yourself having separation anxiety over the possible disappearance of landline telephones, though, you're not alone. Many people are fearful of what their disappearance might mean.

Even though landlines aren't off the radar yet, some people are already starting to feel the impact of their decline. As you might expect, major telephone providers are among those affected by abandoned landlines, but some other unexpected groups, like pollsters and politicians, are feeling the effects as well.

Don't feel too sorry for the telephone companies though. While major players like AT&T and Verizon get from one-third to one-half of their revenue from land-based subscribers, they won't necessarily lose those subscribers; they'll just convert them to wireless subscribers instead. So perhaps the companies are right not to be concerned about the drop-off in landlines, but the landscape is undoubtedly changing.

Although cell phones and VoIP are increasing in popularity, landlines will likely stick around until coverage and security improve. This is also proven by companies like Bang and Olufsen who still come up with new products, as you can see on www.bangolufsenphone.com/beocom4 . At least one good reason to use a landline is that emergency service providers often still have difficulty locating where mobile phone calls originate. So while landlines linger on for now, don't rule out having to explain what a telephone pole was to your great-grandkids.

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