An Office Phone Stuck To Your Desk? How Quaint!
By Mike Masnick, Mon Jan 24 23:00:00 GMT 2005

While there have been plenty of stories highlighting people ditching their landlines at home, it appears the trend is hitting the office as well.

The end of the traditional PSTN landline phone seems to be getting closer every day. It seems you can't read the technology news without seeing a story somewhere about how either VoIP systems or mobile phones were allowing individuals and corporations to completely cut their ties with legacy telcos. For the most part, though, it seemed that the mobile replacement stories were focused on residential users, while the office stories were dominated by VoIP replacements.

However, there's growing evidence that mobile phone adoption in the office is cutting into office phone usage. Sometimes this is driven by corporate mandate, and other times, simply by employee preference. You would expect it to happen at companies in the mobile space or handset space (have to eat their own dog food, after all), but it's now spreading well beyond that. Ford announced today that it's signed a deal with Sprint to put mobile phones in the hands of 8,000 employees. That, alone, isn't particularly newsworthy -- but the fact that these mobile phones will completely replace landline ones is a bit more attention getting. When companies entirely outside of the mobile sector are cutting the landlines to go all mobile, it suggests that corporations are beginning to feel comfortable with the overall reliability and quality of mobile phones as a primary solution, rather than as a secondary solution for mobile workers only.

What might be more interesting, however, is that this also appears to be happening from the bottom up employee level at many large companies. A recent study found that many employees prefer to use their mobile phones rather than their desktop phones. The advantages, of course, are obvious. However, historically, there's been a hesitation that mobile phones are either too costly or suffer from quality or reliability problems you don't expect on landlines.

The fact that employees and non-tech corporations are finally more comfortable with all of these issues to completely throw away landlines has to be seen as a good sign for the overall mobile industry. The increasing role of the mobile phone as a central piece of office equipment should also help to drive more mobile Internet usage, as the device is no longer just considered a secondary piece of equipment for emergencies or when other means of communication are not present.