Granted, we may still be a few years away from the death of telephony services as we know them today, as many people either don’t have a PC and/or internet connection, and others are just not technology savvy enough to make the switch, but:
Big change begins with services that are way better and cheaper than their predecessors, and that is something that’s here today. I can already route calls via cheaper operators, mobile Operators provide fixed line tarrifs, and Skype allows me to make IP based international calls at ridiculously low prices.
And this is only the beginning. IP telephony adds convenience to telephony that has only been possible with expensive hardware up to now. You can be notified about missed calls via email, your phone follows you to your workplace or your hotel – sky’s the limit. I wonder how long it will take for the first company to offer internet based answering machines.
This, plus the ever growing mesh of WLAN access points that might make UMTS an expensive failure, surely scares the hell out of traditional phone companies, and maybe even mobile operators. I wonder what their counter strategy looks like.