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Landline Phones Are An Endangered Species: Report

The traditional, public switched telephone network (PSTN), landline phone is an endangered species, according to a new study by Insight Research.

In its study, "Fixed Mobile Convergence: Single Phone Solutions for Wireless, Wireline, and VoIP Convergence 2005-2010," Insight argues that a new generation of smart phones will take advantage of WiFi, voice over IP (VoIP) and voice over wireless local area networks (VoWLAN) to liberate voice communications from the telephone cord. The result will be a ubiquitous single communications device for use in the home, office and on the road.

"The dynamic is unmistakable: fixed lines for phones have been declining at a three-percent rate for the last several years, while the number of Americans opting for cell phone calling keeps increasing," Insight president Robert Rosenberg said in a statement. "If you are a fixed line provider this trend means trouble. Many of the fixed mobile convergence strategies under consideration end up utilizing a smart phone or dual-mode VoWLAN/Cellular phone that works like a landline phone in the local area and then converts to cell phone calling."

Insight expects this transition to follow four adoption scenarios. These include the already familiar replacement of landline usage with cellular phones, particularly in the home. The firm notes that dual-mode mobile handsets that can take advantage of VoWLAN connectivity where available, the adoption of VoWLAN in the home in conjunction with broadband Internet service, and a "fixed cellular" technology that provides landline functionality over cellular networks will also be key trajectories.