People have become accustomed that they can take their mobile phone, roam abroad and still be reachable via their national phone number. Nobody needs to explain this to a caller anymore, the concept is understood even by non-techies. With VoIP, the same concept also works for fixed line numbers. And this is where the trouble starts.
I am a good example: I have a German fixed line phone number from a German SIP VoIP provider which I use over DSL in my apartments in Germany and Paris with a Nokia N95 and alternatively with a cordless phone attached to a POTS to SIP converter box sitting next to my DSL router.
However, the concept of having a German fixed line number in Paris is still a difficult concept to grasp for many. More than once I struggled to explain ‘no, I am not really in Germany, I am in Paris’, because the usual answer is, ‘but how can that be, I called your German fixed line phone!?’
With the changes happening in the telecom industry today, i.e. the move from circuit switched telephony to SIP and the introduction of combined fixed/mobile telephony, there will be a point when it will seem normal to people that there is no longer a difference between fixed and mobile telephone numbers and that the telephone number no longer represents a geographical location. Once this point is reached the industry will have come a long way.
So the question is, when will that be!? What do you think? 5 years, 10 years, even longer?