RT Cunningham

Phone Numbers will Someday be as Extinct as Dinosaurs

Why are people still using phone numbers to contact one another? Landlines need them, obviously, but what about mobile phones over the Internet?

Online services such as Skype, Facebook Messenger, Viber and Line prove we can communicate over the Internet (VoIP or voice over Internet protocol) without phone numbers.

Phone Numbers aren’t Necessary

You can’t tell that to the telecommunication companies like AT&T, T-Mobile, Smart Communications and others. They will use phone numbers to name their customers, landline or mobile, until they’re told not to. How else can they charge so much for something that costs them so little?

Landlines have to use phone numbers but cell phones don’t need to use them. After all, they’re not physically connected to anything. I don’t know how the iPhones work (I’ve never had one) but Android phones won’t work without an e-mail address for backups. Well, maybe they will but I haven’t figured it out yet.

In the Philippines, Landlines aren’t Necessary

The Philippines was far behind the United States when it only had landlines for phone communications. If a house had a phone, the owner was well off. Most Filipinos had to go to phone centers to make or receive phone calls.

When cell phones (before smartphones) started becoming popular, things changed drastically. At one time, I called this place the texting capital of the world. Voice calls were expensive and unreliable.

Even 10 years ago (2007), when I bought something or scheduled an appointment for something, the other party always wanted a cell phone number. They didn’t use land lines and they didn’t call land lines (mobile to landline and landline to mobile was more expensive).

I have a landline in my house now because the DSL service requires me to have (and pay) for it. I never call anyone with it. People call me and it’s usually a wrong number. At other times, it’s PLDT trying to sell me a gadget or trying to get me to upgrade my DSL service (which isn’t going to happen).

Phone Numbers and Dinosaurs

If you’re old enough, someone will call you a dinosaur sooner or later. Real dinosaurs are extinct, just like phone numbers will be extinct someday. That day will come when the telecommunication companies let it happen or someone forces them to make it happen. Kicking and screaming all the way, of course.

Josie (my wife) and I talk to our grown children in the United States all the time. It doesn’t cost anything beyond what I pay for DSL. 30 years ago, I was paying $20 USD to call the Philippines for about five minutes at a time. I would have saved a small fortune if I’d had access to even one Internet service – but that was before the Internet opened up for consumers.

The phone companies will use phone numbers to milk us for everything they can get for as long as they can get away with it. I’ll be happy when the day comes that they can’t.

Photo Attribution: By Jonathan Mauer (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0], via Wikimedia Commons


November 11, 2017
Technology

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