Data, not voice, is now driving telecoms

In the consumer market, the mobile operators' steps to sell converged products have been tentative. Orange and O2 market the service quite heavily, Vodafone doesn't really appear to push it, and T-Mobile and 3 have no fixed-line services at all although BT and Virgin Media, which outsource their mobile operations to other carriers, do have fixed and mobile packages.

In the business to business market, there are a few more options several business broadband and WAN providers, for example, offer a mobile phone package alongside their fixed offerings. But, as PRTM points out, the high cost of providing fibre-optic connections will limit its roll-out, and provide a steady business stream for both 3G/4G and Wi-Fi for some years to come.

And it may mean the end of the line for the conventional, office phone too; already companies such as Microsoft have offices with no fixed phones, with staff using soft phones or mobile handsets instead.

But even if the technology changes, the one thing that probably won't disappear from most desks is the clutter. The PC and the phone may be going, but the paperless office remains a long way off.

Stephen Pritchard is a contributing editor at IT PRO.

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