In today’s digital world, it is possible to make phone calls over the Internet, using what is known as Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP). As this means of communication has become more popular in recent years, people are wondering whether the traditional landline telephone will be around for much longer. As of now, VoIP hasn’t entirely replaced the telephone network, but it does have a number of advantages that have led to its rapid adoption.

How VoIP Works

The VoIP technology uses a computer’s broadband Internet access to route calls. With VoIP, you can make calls using your computer, or in some cases by connecting a phone to your Internet service. You can even hook up a regular landline to this technology by connecting it to a VoIP adapter. Using this technology, you can call worldwide and enjoy certain advantages.

Advantages of VoIP

One major advantage of VoIP is its low cost. Considering that VoIP services don’t rely on the wire infrastructure that regular telephone companies need to route their calls, the services typically come with a low telephone bill. As people became more cost conscious during the Great Recession of 2007 through 2009, VoIP gained market share over traditional telephone services.

Another advantage is the interactivity of VoIP. You can engage in video calls, share documents, and interact in a number of ways with the people you call. And since you are not tied to a wired telephone line, your phone number doesn’t reflect your physical location, which means you could use the same number worldwide. Anywhere there is Internet access, you can make a telephone call using your VoIP system.

VoIP is Not Perfect

While VoIP has its advantages, it is not quite perfect. First, you can lose your telephone access during power cuts. During a power outage, you cannot make emergency 911 calls. And since your VoIP number doesn’t necessarily reflect your physical location, 911 services may not be able to locate you when you need the service.

In addition, there have been complaints that VoIP call service is choppy and that voices sometimes get cut off. The clarity of calls is not always as good as compared to landline. Another concern is that there is potential for people to snoop on other people's calls by intercepting them as they go through personal Internet networks.

The Bottom Line

In spite of the disadvantages of VoIP, people have been won over based largely on the price and convenience factors. Thus, the industry has seen an annual growth rate of 17.5 percent over the period 2010 through 2015, according to IBISWorld.  

And as worldwide Internet penetration grows and Internet bandwidth grows, it is likely that VoIP services will gain more market share.

Will VoIP Replace Traditional Landlines?

With the growing use of VoIP, it seems that traditional landline telephones will become more of a relic at some point in the future. However, the landline has its uses too, and it is not entirely extinct yet.

A transition period  will take place as the world becomes more digitized and VoIP becomes more convenient. At some point in the distant future, VoIP is likely to take over as it becomes more improved and accessible to people worldwide. For now, the landline remains a household staple, although it is gradually losing market share, particularly among younger households.

The Bottom Line

VoIP has become a more popular option and is gaining market share from the traditional landline telephone. It seems that at some point in the future, the landline will be replaced by VoIP. However, that digital future is still some years away, and the landline continues to have a place in today’s world.