Landlines are disappearing – but the numbers are valuable for B2B service convergence
The move to mobile is well advanced, but that doesn’t mean businesses want to throw away their landline numbers. In addition to call handling services, many operators have profitable geo- and non-geo routing services that businesses depend on. Converging NTS with call handling protects these services while supporting mobile-first users.
New data highlights the irreversible shift to mobile
Landlines have been declining in popularity for many years. Research cited by Statista, for example, shows a dramatic fall in landlines in the US, highlighting a clear preference for a mobile-only approach, even while residential broadband and fibre access has grown.
Meanwhile, UK regulator, Ofcom, reports that landline call volumes have dropped by nearly half, even though 80% of residences still have a landline. That’s largely due to the way in which broadband packages have been offered – with a landline part of a bundle.
Regardless, it’s clear that people are using landlines much less and that this trend is set to continue. Conversations have shifted to mobile or other applications over broadband links, wireless or otherwise. And, what’s true for residential customers is also increasingly true for business customers, as we adjust to the new mode of working.
Figure 1 – Landline penetration in the US
What does this mean for business users? Numbers matter, not desk-based devices
To some extent, this is hardly news. The trend has been evident for a number of years. But, even though businesses are embracing mobile (and other platforms, such as Teams) as their primary means of communications, fixed numbers remain important. Landlines are not just devices but also identities. The numbers have currency, even if people no longer wish to use the physical handset.
So, operators need to think about how to manage this transition. Many businesses value their geographic fixed line identities and prefer to use them as the primary identity for their customers. And, many have also used non-geographic number services to provide low-cost or freephone access. These are not going to go away.
Businesses need to protect fixed identities, while integrating FMC
These services need to be wrapped up with delivery to mobile devices. Currently, this is often achieved through different service silos, so that number translation services are handled by one platform, while the specific call delivery options are handled by another. These may not be optimally synchronised. Given the inevitable decline in physical landline usage and the corresponding dependency on mobile and other channels, these systems need to be closely aligned.
Which is what we’ve been doing for a number of operators. We’ve replaced the complete number translation infrastructure and provided integrated call handling capabilities, so that operators can converge their business fixed line numbering plans and routing solutions with their B2B service platforms.
Converged voice call management, with integrated NTS
So, geo- and non-geo routing can be brought together with the specific call handling adopted by a given organisation – which includes delivery to mobiles or any other connected channel – in a single, converged environment. Our converged service platform handles all relevant number translation and routing management requirements, alongside other services, such as cloud PBX. This gives operators a single solution from which to support both number management and call handling services, from a future-proof environment that scales.
If you are trying to adapt to deliver to a more mobile workforce, while trying to protect existing core revenues from number translation services, this could be just what you need to meet the needs of your customers.