Telecom Trends: Why Virtual Numbers Have Made Landlines Obsolete
Updated October 6, 2023
Communications have changed drastically over the last 10-20 years. Back in the 2000s, the landline was the quickest way to communicate with your family, friends, and colleagues.
But today, communication is only a click away. You can communicate with anyone in the world in only a few seconds via the internet.
Where does that leave landlines? And why have virtual numbers emerged as a landline replacement?
Well, that’s what we will explore in this post. From landlines to virtual numbers and the future of both — we’ll unravel every detail!
What are landlines?
By definition, a landline is a telephone connection that operates on analog technology. Your voice travels via copper wires or fiber optic cables to the caller on the other end.
Your telephone’s microphone picks sound waves from your end and converts them into electrical signals. The electrical signals travel via copper wire or fiber optic cables.
These electrical signals are picked by the telephone set on the other end. Once picked, they are converted to sound waves and delivered via a speaker. The entire process happens in fractions of a second.
This means that although landlines have become outdated today, you can still easily and quickly communicate via them. The connections are independent of the internet, meaning you can trust landlines with sound quality and reliability.
Plus, it’s easier to track someone’s location with a landline number. This can be a major advantage in case of an emergency. If the police or a rescue team has to find their way to a house, they’ll use its landline number to do so.
How to get landline numbers?
To get a landline number, you’ll have to find and contact a local service provider. In most places, the government offers a national landline service. But there are private companies and providers too.
Unlike virtual numbers, there’s no free trial for landline connections. You have to buy the service to activate it.
What to consider when buying a landline number?
When buying a landline number, you need not consider:
- The vendor
- The packages offered by the vendor
When assessing the vendor, check for how long they’ve been offering their services and the company history. If there are no major complaints of bad service or shutdowns, go with it. We also recommend looking for a number that’s easy to remember.
What are virtual numbers?
A virtual phone number is an advancement of the traditional telephone line. It’s an internet-based (or cloud-based) number that’s not tied to any physical device or location. This means you can use it anywhere in the world if you have an internet connection.
A virtual number is also known as a Direct Inward Dialing number (DID number) or Voice over IP (VoIP number). The coolest aspect of a virtual phone number is that you can use it as a local number.
As an example, suppose you’re in the USA and a customer from the UK wants to call you. You can simply request your virtual phone number service to grant you a local number for the UK. With this, your UK customer can call you on your virtual number as a local call (while you’re sitting in the US).
This can help grow your business, especially if you run an online company. If your business operates in different regions, having a local number for each region will make you more accessible to your customers, allowing you to offer better customer service.
How to get virtual phone numbers?
Acquiring a virtual phone number is way simpler than getting a landline connection. Just sign up on a service provider’s website, create your account, and request the desired number.
Most virtual phone number services offer a trial period, so you can test the usability of a virtual phone number without investing in it.
However, once the trial period ends, you’ll have to pay to retain the same number and use the service.
What to consider when buying a virtual phone number?
When buying a virtual phone number, look for the following:
- Vendor reputation and ratings
- Features offered
- Security offered
Remember to be careful when trusting virtual phone number companies and always verify the authenticity of the provider you like.
Landlines vs. virtual numbers
We know about both landlines and virtual numbers now. We also know virtual numbers are an advancement of landline numbers, which means they are a better solution.
However, the comparison is still alive between landlines and virtual numbers. Here are some benefits of landline numbers:
- Excellent call quality
- Necessary to install with home security systems
- Easy to use for kids
- Remains functional during a power outage
- Extremely secure connections
The following are some benefits of virtual numbers:
- Can be easily operated from any location
- Allow the use of multiple phone numbers from one IP
- Reduce communication expense
- Offer additional features like call rerouting and voicemail, which can be helpful for businesses
- Do not require complex hardware to set up
For personal household use, a landline with a physical connection is an excellent choice and can come in handy in case of an emergency. For example, if there’s a natural disaster and there’s a nationwide power outage, a landline will remain functional (unlike a virtual number).
From a business point of view, however, a virtual number is better than a landline connection. It can help your business grow by reducing expenses and making you more accessible to your customers.
Are landlines becoming obsolete?
In comparison, the adoption of virtual numbers is rising steadily. In 2022, 1300 CEOs reported that 69 percent of the workforce is striving for a virtual presence and operations, which remain incomplete without virtual phone numbers.
Given this, it is evident that the use of landlines is reducing day by day, while the use of virtual numbers is increasing, especially in business settings.
In some countries like the UK, the government has even announced the complete closure of landline services by 2025, and all business owners are advised to switch to virtual phone numbers.
So, yes. Landlines are becoming obsolete. We expect to see fewer and fewer landline connections in the coming years as the majority switches to internet-based solutions.
If you already have a landline phone connection, it's worth keeping! Landline phone connections have their own benefits, and we recommend availing them as long as landlines are alive.
However, if you do not have a landline phone connection currently, we do not recommend getting a new connection installed. It will be a wasteful expense since telephone lines are dying.
You can send an SMS with a virtual phone number but not with a landline number. A landline number can only make calls to other numbers. However, it is possible to receive text messages via a landline.
On average, virtual numbers cost $6.99/month, while landlines cost $42/month. This means landlines are 6 times more expensive than virtual phone numbers on average.