Business VoIP impacting on UK landlines, says report


A recent report has identified an increasing decline in both the number of UK business telephone landlines and the use of such lines – with the take-up of business VoIP (voice over internet protocol) cited as a significant factor influencing this trend.

The report, by UK communications regulator Ofcom, reveals that in 2011, telephone landlines among businesses stood at 9.4 million – a drop of 3.1% on the previous year. The report points out that this decline has been a feature of the telephony market now for four years running.

Ofcom reveals that usage of fixed landlines also dropped in 2011, with the total volume of calls made on landlines not quite reaching 29 billion minutes – a decline of 9.1% on the previous year. As a consequence, Ofcom reveals, revenue from fixed line phone usage also dropped by 4.8% compared with 2010.

The report identifies the rise of business VoIP and internet protocol (IP) telephony in general as a major contributor to the decline in conventional telephone line usage, citing ‘increased use of IP-based backhaul for business telephony.’

Commenting on the report’s findings, Rob Bamforth, research organisation Quocirca’s principle analyst, said:

“IP telephony has grown because…where once IP telephony was being adopted as a way to make cheaper calls, it is now becoming part of a toolkit of collaboration and so getting wider and faster adoption. It is no longer about IP phones, but total IP comms”

Bamforth also cautioned those businesses looking to use mobile phone adoption instead of IP telephony ‘to be aware of the costs involved.’

Concomitant with the increased adoption of business VoIP, the report also identified an increase in the number of broadband connections being established within businesses.

According to Ofcom, there were 1.7 million broadband connections among UK businesses in 2011 – a rise of 8.8% on the previous year.