Wed, Apr 8th 2009 6:29pm
The shift away from landline phones to mobile phones has been growing for several years, as many people find landline service redundant. Fixed-line operators have done very little to update landlines and keep them relevant, preferring instead to rely on inertia to maintain subscriptions, alongside forcing landlines into bundles or making them a requirement for DSL. This has worked, to some extent, especially as landlines still did hold some benefit for families, or in situations where people wanted to call a place as opposed to a particular person. But mobile operators are innovating and narrowing this gap. For instance, MetroPCS has announced a new "family line" product, which gives families a single number alongside their additional phone number. When this number is called, all the family members' individual handsets ring, and anybody who answers gets placed into conference with the caller, mimicking a landline with multiple extensions. The number can also be used within the family to enable easy conference calls. It's not a huge technological breakthrough, and it's also not a service that's likely to be a big deal to tons of users -- but it does illustrate how even with as old a product as voice, the mobile side of the telecom business is trying to push forward, while landline voice remains largely stagnant.
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