VoIP Gaining Ground, So Where Will Legacy Voice Make Its Last Stand?

Voice over Internet Protocol penetration among U.S. businesses will increase rapidly over the next few years, reaching 79 percent by 2013, compared to 42 percent at the end of 2009, according to research out today from analyst firm In-Stat. At this point I wonder what market demographic represents the last stand for legacy circuit switched voice. Will it be consumer landlines or will it be mobile voice over 3G networks?

Current telephone networks are gradually being phased out as the world moves to IP communications. Right now in the U.S. only 78 percent of consumer homes have a landline and only 22 percent rely on them exclusively. In the next three years I imagine both numbers will be much lower, which is why the FCC is looking at how to support broadband access (which is necessary for IP telephony) for all.

In the mobile world, legacy voice will stick around for a while longer. Even though the next-generation Long Term Evolution networks will support voice, it’s still unclear how carriers will manage voice calls over the all-IP LTE network. Plus, the existing 3G and even 2G networks will still be around delivering voice calls, so legacy voice is still going to rule on mobile phones.

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Thumbnail image from Old Telephones via Flickr