A few week back I wrote about the Why I think IP Telephony is over. to a lot of ballyhoo from commenters claiming that mobile phones will never be as cheap as desk phones.
Today in Great Britain, O2 (one of the largest mobile telco’s in the UK) released a unlimited voice / data / text plan for customers with existing iPhones and other smartphones at a price of £45 per month. Normal phones are unlimited at £45 per month.
A couple of things to note here:
- I already PAY £45 per month for my tariff of 1200mins/600 texts/unlimited data and subsidised handset
- Unlimited voice, text and data means predictable budgets
- I can offset the cost of the handset against the cost of the PBX handset, making the mobile handset cheap
- The Data Tariff includes Edge, 3G and WiFi (when available, which is quite a lot in the UK cities)
- Excessive use applies – unlimited isn’t actually “unlimited” (marketing math, again)
If I am a small business today, why would I buy a PBX ? For the same capital cost as a PBX, I can buy mobile phones outright and put them onto an unlimited tariff. Importantly, I don’t have to spend capital to buy a larger PBX than I really need, I can spend money incrementally.
As soon as this works it’s way through to the market, PBX revenues will decline faster than they are now, especially in the SME market. Also there will be much less market for upgrades to existing systems as existing workers shift from desk phones to mobile handsets. And many business do not need a PBX for modern working practices and mobile phones are much better solution for professional type roles that want flexible working. Of course, those business that have call centre / phone facing services will continue to use PBX, but I predict that the legacy voice industry as a whole will not grow any further ( if it is now ? ) and start to shrink.
Carriers are already seeing reductions in voices minutes as people shift communications to IP via email / status updates and SMS. This should see people use even less overall.
Yep. PBX and IP Telephony is not a good long term career choice if you are starting out now. This is the harbinger of the decline.
Miriam Webster Dictionary:
a: one that pioneers in or initiates a major change : precursor
b : one that presages or foreshadows what is to come
synonyms: see forerunner