In a sign of the times, the University of Kentucky has decided to drop landline voice service to its dorm rooms – all 3,060 of them. Students can still request a phone line if they like – so far this year, seven students have. The move came after the university conducted a survey, and found 98.2 percent of students in dorms own and prefer to use cell phones. While not surprising, this development is still quite eye opening. It hits traditional telecom carriers in two ways. One is the obvious trend that everyone already knows about – generation Y has little interest or need for a landline phone. In addition, colleges and universities have always been a lucrative source of telecom revenue for the carriers that are lucky to have them in their territories. If this trend continues, and there’s no reason to believe it won’t, traditional landline carriers will increasingly lose that revenue stream. It sets up an ugly one-two punch. Maybe they should change their approach. This market segment seems ripe for a broadband offering with a VoIP component, priced in such a way that voice is perceived as “free.”
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