In case you missed it, The Economist ran an excellent editorial and survey article last week on the ongoing Internet revolution in the phone business. The title on the cover, “How the Internet Killed the Phone Business” is a bit misleading–as the article points out, telephony will likely expand massively as Internet technologies take hold. It’s the existing telephone companies that are at risk. Interestingly, the article argues that its not traditional wireline firms that are most threatened – since they are quickly moving into Internet-based services themselves. Rather, say the authors, stand-alone wireless firms who are more dependent on voice calls have the biggest reason to worry. The magazine’s overall conclusion:
It is now no longer a question of whether VOIP will wipe out traditional telephony, but a question of how quickly it will do so. People in the industry are already talking about the day, perhaps only five years away, when telephony will be a free service offered as part of a bundle of services as an incentive to buy other things such as broadband access or pay-TV services. VOIP, in short, is completely reshaping the telecoms landscape.