John D Radcliff, Specializing in Interactive Technology & Education!

How are phone services changing?

        The internet has developed new communication tools which has had a growing effect on the way we communicate.  For example, instead of people having a landline, now people have cell phones with them all the time.  People are not just making calls, they are now texting, using social media tools, blogging, VOIP applications, etc.  In the "grand narrative of modernity, the Internet is an efficient tool of communication, advancing the goals of its users, who are understood as preconstituted instrumental identities" (Poster 1997, 205-6). 

        This quote from the reading of HyperCyberDemocracy reveals how people are using the internet to communicate and express themselves in whatever way seems fit.  So how does this have an effect on charging for communications?   According to the Florida Public Service Commission, Verizon, AT&T and CenturyLink, the biggest telephone landline providers in Florida, lost approximately one million subscribers in 2009.  Many consumers in the Florida area cut spending in 2009 by curbing telecommunications services.  The PSC released its annual report on the Status of Communications in the Telecommunications Industry to the Florida Legislature today. It shows many consumers cut spending in 2009 by curbing telecommunications services. 


        Companies like Metro Cellular and Google who provide unlimited or free services are the catalysts behind this decline.  For example, Metro PCS, a cell phone service provider, gives people unlimited talk and text for only $49.99.  It would not make sense for someone to pay by the minute on a landline or through another cellular provider when you can get a better deal through Metro PCS.  Google has several free services when it comes to online communications. 

        Google  provides a free service called "Google Voice", which allows a person to get a free phone number, voicemail, text to e-mail, block/screen callers, establish conference calls, and much more! 
The question is how do you compete with unlimited usage or free services?

        The way most of these companies have adpated to this change is to embrace it.  All of the major carriers like AT&T and Verizon have been offering bundled digital media packages called the triple play.  The "triple play" consists of internet, television, and phone for one monthly price.  They are also competing in the cell phone market which has been growing by significantly.  The solution to this consumer driven market is to charge people for access, instead of charging for usage fees. 

        The ability for a person to communicate has become more then just talking, it is evolving into digital communications between devices with people expressing themselves in a whole new way.  This is the main cause of the shift in communications were people now have the tools to communicate in so many different forms that the consumer is changing the market, which is changing the phone companies service offerings. 


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