Is Amazon about to kill the landline?
Ecommerce titan Amazon may be about to kill the landline once and for all. According to the U.S. Health Department, over half (50.8%) of American homes no longer have a landline, as mobile phones and online services like Facebook and Skype have become ubiquitous. But they linger on thanks to better call quality and cheaper rates (compared to mobile) for international calls. As Amazon’s Echo, and the Alexa virtual personal assistant (VPA) that comes with it, becomes more widespread, that could change.
Amazon’s share price is up 28% so far this year!
SOURCE: Yahoo Finance
Writing at Mashable.com, Ray Wong road tested the Echo as a fixed home phone solution. Identifying the importance of call quality for older users, who may struggle more on calls due to a decline in hearing, he wrote:
“Right off the bat, I noticed the call quality was good. Like really good. My colleague Brett said it sounded just as clear as a regular phone call, which is great because if I’m ever to convince my parents to get rid of their home phone for an Echo, the call quality needs to be excellent.”
There are a few barriers to cleaning up the landline market. First amongst them is availability of international calls. The service, unsurprisingly, only works in areas where Alexa and Echo are supported: at the moment, a handful of English speaking countries. So you can forget about calling relatives in Asia. And second, conversations are all broadcast to the room via speaker phone – potentially problematic for users who value their privacy. But with Amazon making headway in a variety of international markets, and responding to customer demands with typical efficiency, you can expect these barriers to one day disappear. When they do, the home phone may have reached its end.
Dominion holds Amazon in its Global Trends Ecommerce Fund.
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