Bye-Bye Telephones?

We recently conducted an online survey of consumers asking the following question: “What communications device is most important in meeting your communications needs?”  The general direction of consumer preferences was not surprising, but the spread of their preferences for different devices tends to corroborate and magnify our impressions of the directions being taken under the influence of technology, markets and regulations.

Wireline 0%
Cell phones 46%
Home Computers 50%
Other 4%

Not a single respondent identified the wireline phone as the “most important” home communications device, while half identified the home computer and nearly half cited the cell phone. While not a large sample, our survey tends to provide a coherent explanation for a variety of market phenomena including:

  • The steady erosion of traditional wireline connections and services sold by local telephone companies, and their replacement by other devices for messaging;
  • Demand for “broadband connections” to the home for more bandwidth intensive information transfers including video, voice and audio content; and
  • Continued growth, competition and diversification of communications services rendered via wireless devices.

These results highlight the pace of the “Digital Revolution,” the Mobilization of Telecommunications,” and the imperative, from the perspective of national communications policy, to find ways to attract greater investment in both wireless and wireline infrastructures that serve the demand for highspeed services using computers and wireless devices.

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