Many would say the wireless era is already upon us, but soon it's going to be official. A study released today by research firm ATLANTIC-ACM shows that wireless revenues will overtake all wireline revenues by 2014.
On the retail side of things, that already happened earlier this year, as landline sales have declined while wireless demand has steadily climbed. From a revenue standpoint though, wireline is still supreme; all the corporate hardline networks, wireline data services (including broadband Internet and the like), and home and business landlines still earn their fair share of cash for carriers. But those days, the numbers show, are quickly coming to an end.
"The wireless space continues to be the growth story in the telecom industry as it is expected to pick up an additional $22B in revenue from 2008 to 2014," said ATLANTIC-ACM CEO Dr. Judy Reed Smith, adding "As a whole, growth in the prepaid segment is expected outpace the postpaid wireless space thanks to the addition of data plans at attractive prices and as unemployment increases the prepaid target market of lower-income and bargain-driven customers."
So is the tipping point upon us? Will landline telephones soon go the way of the 8-track? The short answer is no. While hard lines are certainly in decline, they're not going away just yet. Think of all the businesses that rely on hard wires for networking, not to mention all the Internet bandwidth traveling hither and yon on cables. Hard line services are becoming cheaper as wireless demand (especially for those expensive data plans) grows, which inevitably drives the market toward a point when revenue is greater on the wireless side. But wireline is far from extinct; don't throw out your desktop phone just yet.