Jason Fry, who writes the Real Time column for The Wall Street Journal, has written a nice piece that sums up the reality of cellphones in our lives. A central theme of his argument is that his three-year-old son may go his whole life without changing his personal number.
“Sure, my kid may have lots of phones to go with that single phone number -- phones that, as discussed a few weeks back, may do things that seem like science fiction today. But I bet that number will stay the same -- it'll be a part of his identity, almost a second Social Security number. When his phone rings he'll know who's calling, and that person will know who's going to answer,” Fry writes in his column.
Fry also talks about how landlines are being replaced by wireless communication and quoted a Forrester Research study that found 18% of U.S. households with a mobile phone had either abandoned their landline, planned to do so, or had never had one.
“That's not a huge percentage, but contrast it to a few years ago when tech junkies were paying extra for additional lines for Internet access -- a period that will one day be discussed as the telcos' Prague Spring.”
The column resonated with me because I have just moved premises, something that a couple of years ago would have left me with a feeling of dread of having to get voice and data lines installed. Typically these things never happened on schedule and I would exist for a couple of days or weeks in a, primarily data, communication wilderness.
Not so this time. Most people contact me on my mobile so I haven’t dropped off the radar and I was able to set up a wireless network within minutes with a 3G data card and Linksys router that uses WiFi to share the 3G connection among multiple users.
As I write this I am waiting for the telecommunications company to arrive to install voice and data lines, but if they don’t come today or even this week I will happily stay in wireless voice and data contact with the world.
In fact, I suspect this may be the last time that I have a data landline installed. Possibly also the voice landline.