Wireless and VoIP are eating up the wireline biz


The landline phone business is a tough one and data released this week from the FCC indicates that it’s not just people abandoning their wireline phones that are helping kill the copper-based voice biz: VoIP providers are as well. The Federal Communications Commission released its 2012 Wireline competition report this week showing the shift from traditional phone lines.

The data is fairly old — it was collected a full year ago — and the results aren’t a surprise to industry watchers. Still two things jump out; one, wireline subscriptions are still falling overall and VoIP providers are growing rapidly in this otherwise shrinking market. The chart below says it pretty clearly.

One thing to note is that in 2008, the FCC started requiring VoIP providers to participate in the survey since the service was growing in popularity. Ironically, I think we’re now seeing a lot of voice traffic move to players that don’t actually connect to the public switched telephone network, which isn’t tracked by the FCC’s report.

So in a few years I expect the VoIP providers to have surpassed the copper lines, but the overall traffic seen by then won’t compare to the all-IP traffic occurring via GTalk, Facetime or other services that never touch the old telephone network.

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