Goodbye Phone Networks

Goodbye-PSTN

By Kamila Cholko on August 2, 2016 in Technology

Many people have been in touch since the Futurescope event, regarding the “Goodbye PSTN’ slide. Is the phone service dying out?!

We were highlighting the fact that the traditional phone network is being replaced by IP-based phone networks, in most developed countries around the world.

In fact, according to Cavell Group research, it is no longer possible to obtain a traditional phone line in some countries in Europe. In many others, the traditional phone line is being phased out in the next few years. In Austria and Scandinavia the ISDN shutdown is almost complete; in the Netherlands it is largely complete, while in Germany, Switzerland, Hungary, Greece and others a firm commitment has been made to shutdown within the next 3 – 5 years. The US and UK have also signalled the end.

Telephony or ‘voice’ as we have come to know it, is now being delivered ‘as a service’ over IP networks. As a result, the traditional telephone network is no longer needed to carry voice traffic. However it is still used as a means of carrying IP traffic (xDSL is very common access layer technology).

This too is changing with fibre to the home becoming more common, although it will take much longer to achieve.

While the mode of delivery of voice over IP services is changing, there is also a clear shift in user behaviour. Asynchronous voice – where the conversation does not happen simultaneously but through a series of messages which are reviewed over a period of time – is becoming common. The most notable usage is in Whatsapp, where people record messages for one another, replying when they have time.

Voice services are also being integrated more tightly with other applications, making it possible to call from within applications. Uber, Hailo, Just Eat, Deliveroo all provide the functionality to make calls to the driver using the app. It is also becoming very common to message within collaboration tools, gaming environments, project planning and CRM applications.

So while the PSTN network itself is effectively being repurposed, and the traditional PSTN voice network is being shut down, the use of voice as a service and hosted voice communications in general are increasing all the time.

The end is definitely not nigh!

By Feargal Brady, Co-Founder of Blueface
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