Back in 2007, research done by the Pew (News - Alert) Research Center's Internet & American Life Project found that a measly 8 percent of Internet users had placed a phone call online – ever – and only two percent were doing so on any given day, according to industry observer Helen Leggatt.
How times change. Their latest study done last month shows that Americans have developed a taste for Internet calling: Fully 24 percent of American Internet users are making phone calls online with such services as Skype and Vonage (News - Alert), Leggatt says, “and 5 percent are doing so on any given day.”
Probably not surprisingly, Hispanics are more likely to use Internet to make a phone call, the study found, according to Leggatt – “27 percent vs. 21 percent for white/black non-Hispanic. And younger Internet users (18-29) are more likely to use make phone calls online (27 percent) compared with other age groups.”
Some think the eyebrow-raising increase is due do this year being the first time that Pew Internet had asked the question with the wording, “Please tell me if you ever use the Internet to make a phone call online, using a service such as Skype (News - Alert) or Vonage? Did you happen to do this yesterday, or not?”
In other words, maybe some people using Skype didn’t know it also qualified as Internet phone calling. We believe that.
But that might account for a couple percentage points. We agree with Pew’s observation that hey, people are just realizing all the advantages of IP calling: “It is free or cheaper than other types of phone calling; it is enabled on many handheld devices like smartphones and tablet computers; more and more meetings and classroom activities exploit online phone connections along with video capabilities; and more families and friends are building online calls into their communications streams.”
And once quality gets standardized, why would you use anything else?
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David Sims is a contributing editor for TMCnet. To read more of David’s articles, please visit his columnist page. He also blogs for TMCnet here.
Edited by Jennifer Russell