META Report: Mobile or Wired: Which Voice Option Is Best?

By CIO Update Staff

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News Item: North American news reports indicate that some consumers are foregoing traditional wireline telephones entirely and using a mobile phone as their only telephone. In some cases, consumers find mobile phones less expensive because they provide services such as voice messaging and caller ID as part of a basic package, and they do not charge long-distance fees if the user does not exceed the total minutes on the monthly plan.


In Europe, where the basic wired service does not include any "local area" with free calling, switching to mobile-only phone service can be even more compelling. This practice is already common in geographies where mobile phone service and utilization are most advanced, such as the Scandinavian nations. And many developing countries with minimal fixed-line infrastructures are leapfrogging to mobile phone infrastructures.

Situation Analysis: Whether a mobile phone can replace a hardwired phone for consumers or individual business users depends on several factors, including the quality of cellular service in the user's area and what services the individual needs. In some cases, a mobile phone can make sense as the main or only phone for some individuals or employees.

The first key issue for individuals considering making a mobile phone their sole phone service is service quality at their homes and offices. The mobile phone service must provide similar service levels to hardwired service in terms of dial tone availability, voice quality, and dependability. Business users, in particular, cannot afford the frequent call interruptions and connectivity problems that still plague mobile phone service in many parts of North America.

The Advantages of Mobility
If service quality is adequate, mobile phones offer several potential advantages, including:

For organizations, it is generally easiest to justify a mobile phone as the sole choice for employees working from home, and secondarily for employees in small, remote offices. Drawbacks of Mobile-Only
Balancing the advantages of mobile-only service include the following problems: