In a county where wireless internet is becoming ever more popular, it seems like the obvious step would be to move towards technologies which take advantage of this widespread coverage. The most obvious benefit to me appears to be the use of voice over IP (VoIP).
Using handheld devices which are WiFi enabled, voice calls could easily and cheaply be routed over the internet resulting in significant savings in comparison to current mobile phone technologies. For example, in the center of Manchester wireless broadband coverage is close to 100%, and at a cost of only Â£10 per month would enable the subscriber to make calls for next to nothing over services such as Skype. Furthermore, as more people utilized this approach, the greater the saving as many of these services offer free VoIP to VoIP calls.
So, it sounds like the way forwards? Right? Well yes but will it happen? Probably not! Phone companies have an obvious interest in keeping mobile users on mobile telephones. The majority of handsets currently on the market do not have WiFi capabilities, or if they do often do not have the processing power to allow them to run VoIP software. Or even worse, if they do have WiFi and enough processing power, are massive and too large to be comfortably carried around.
I noticed the new Apple iPhone had WiFi capabilities and thought great, the ideas discussed above could easily be achieved… but no, unfortunately it is really quite difficult and solutions are inelegant! Shame, we could all have saved some money!