Voice-over Internet Protocol (VoIP) is the technology that uses the Internet to route all phone calls. The growth of VoIP and its widespread use by both individuals and businesses has raised questions about the future of landline phones. There is a common misconception that VoIP will kill landlines within the next few years, but actually, this is not going to happen due to several reasons.
Statistics by the FCC (News - Alert) showed that there were more than 112 million landlines in the U.S. in 2011, and it is highly unlikely for this number to drop in the next decade. This is mainly because people are used to the idea of having a landline phone and it is going to be difficult to change that mindset anytime soon.
Also, a landline phone shows the area where a person resides. This association between landline phone number and physical location is essential for emergency services such as 911 to provide immediate assistance. With VoIP, it is hard to associated area codes with physical locations and this is why people still prefer to have a landline phone in addition to cell phones and VoIP.
Another reason is that all VoIP calls do end up touching the original PSTN lines at some point. This means the original lines are not going away anytime soon unless companies come up with superior technologies that will completely do away with lines.
Therefore, it’s obvious that landlines are not going to be killed by VoIP. Rather what is going to happen is that the quality of service will be better. These legacy networks are going to be spruced up to handle much more than voice calls. Already telecommunication companies such as Swisscom (News - Alert) have invested more than one billion francs to expand and modernize the existing landline system. Going forward, these landlines will be developed to provide faster packaged services to customers.