back to article Could you give up your desk phone?

Mobile phones are now pervasive in the business environment. Love them or hate them, there’s no getting away from the fact that many of us are using them as an integral part of day to day communications. Most of mobile phone users, however, also have a phone sitting on their desk, and are routinely juggling two separate …


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  1. Nev

    Have to dial "0" on my work mobile... get an "outside line". (i.e. any number

    except another company mobile.)

    It's really annoying.

  2. Gilbert Wham


    It's always useful to have a landline so you can ring your own mobile when you inevitably misplace it...

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Not for 10 years

    Have not had a desk phone for 10 years and now with Skype (except for black Thurday) only use the mobile for incoming calls. My bills have gone through the floor.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I am currently without a desk phone

    (our IT department broke it), and it's bliss because if the account management people want to talk to me they actually have to get up and walk around the corner, and they're too lazy to do this very often!

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    A friend of mine who owns and runs a small, for-business, VoIP company has a nokia N6series phone. It comes with very nice VoIP funcionality, and as such he uses that wherever he gets wifi (in his house and office.) It can do 95% of what a desk phone can do, which is all most users need. The only thing he can't do is administer other phones using it, but he's got custom built tools for that when he must.

    So yes is the answer, I suppose.

  6. Stuart Clough

    The company I work for....

    ... has only got 1 normal land-line in. We've also got about 10 VOIP numbers, apart from that we all use mobiles and chat over Skype. It's just easier as we have lots of travelling employees and the majority of people in the office don't need to make calls anyway.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    We did this about 5 years ago

    The company I work for in Sweden did this about 5 years ago. We have about 10 separate offices in Sweden. All the fixed phones were removed and everyone in the entire company was assigned an extension number from the exchange in our main Stockholm office which was converted to VOIP. This means that every employee, regardless of which office they are in, has a Stockholm number (this isn't a problem in Sweden as the cost difference between local and long distance calls was abolished several years ago and so it costs our customers the same to ring us anyway). Those who really needed a desk phone were fitted out with a VOIP desk phone, the rest of us had VOIP software installed on our laptops and were kitted out with headsets. At the same time our mobile phone subscription was changed to a mobile office extension subscription meaning (as another reader stated above) the mobile phone is effectively connected to the company's exchange and you need to dial 00 (in our case) to get an outside line. This also means that internal calls between extensions on our VOIP exchange are free even when using your mobile.

    People tend to only use the VOIP software if they need to make international calls as this is cheaper than using a mobile. Everything else is done using the mobile as it's exactly the same cost for the company as using VOIP.

  8. SK

    Ditching the mobile

    My Swedish employer got rid of all desk phones in their Swedish offices. Everyone just uses mobile phones now. They have a flat rate call agreement with their local operator so that all calls are routed back to the corporate network for IP transmission to wherever they are destined.

    They wanted to roll this out across Europe but they are getting a huge push back from the mobile operators. They are worried that flat rate calling like this will cannibalise revenues, and ultimately lead to lower ARPU. Even though they would be picking up a considerably large chunk of revenue.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Use a mobile only since 7 years

    As employee of a big company, I do not use a fixed line since 7 years.

    No regrets there. Even phone conferences are are as bad with contemporary GSM mobiles as with a fixed line.

    And even without a good deal with the operator, the savings derived from not reconfiguring a fixed line so that your extension stays the same after moving to a different room should give you quite some talk time.

  10. shrodi

    Best move ever

    Have not had a home desk phone since 2001, and I think it was one of the best moves in my life. In addition to not having to pay for two phones anymore, one of the things I like best about it is never being harassed anymore by survey and/or marketing calls! :)

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    What about a base station for mobile phones devices to use the landline carrier?

    Why can't someone invent a base station that people's mobile phones could sit in, so that all the numbers and settings would be the same, except that the carrier would be the landline, perhaps over wireless/radio, i.e. so it behaves as the land line number but with the mobile's features and addressbook.

  12. War Monger

    Cut the cord a year ago...

    ...when our telecom folks assign my desk phone number to two people. Now use only my mobile and have absolutely no regrets. Only one voicemail box to check and calls reach me anywhere, without having to hassle with integration to our PBX.

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    My company won't even pay for my mobile phone

    Our 150 person US company uses and expects us to supply a cell phone number, however, they do not provide us with cell phones. In other words, I pay for my own phone, and they expect to be able to call me on it when I am out of the office.

    I can get reimbursed for minutes used for business, but that of course requires filling out an expense report and including a copy of my bill identifying which calls were business related. I think there is one employee who doesn't have a mobile phone, so of course, he doesn't have to submit his cell number, however, since most of us cannot live without a mobile phone these days, it's a safe bet that most employees have one, and the employer may not demand it, but expects it.

    So I'd say NO to the original question, and point out that from the company's perspective, they have found a very inexpensive way of keeping both landlines (they pay for them) and mobiles (employees pay for them) up and running.

  14. Brad

    If only I could get coverage at my desk...

    It's ridiculous, and I'm right smack in front of a window too.

  15. R.E.H.

    Phone? Who needs it?

    Must be in Europe that the mobile phone reception doesn't suck inside buildings (last job was in Canada).. heaven help me if I tried to use a cell phone inside the office, it would be dropping constantly or all I would hear was a bunch of garbage... or sometimes I could hear the other party but they would just hear a bunch of garbage from me. Useless. Desk phone all the way.

    At my current job I don't even have a phone. Let the receptionist answer the damn phone. If someone needs me, they can bloody come talk to me. I love it.

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I seldom answer, nobody calls that anyway

    My company was in the habit of forwarding long boring diatribes from the management that they foolishly thought we absolutely all needed in our voice mail. I never had the instructions for discarding propaganda without listening to it, so I stopped picking up voice mail. Once people got the idea that calls to my desk phone went into hyperspace, especially once the mailbox was full, they started calling my cell phone, which is also listed in the company phone book. Motorola bought us, they don't do worthwhile deals on cell phones, but I already had one of theirs anyway and I detest the side buttons but it's the only decent quad band GSM phone I could find. What's that mean? The phone people are used to calling me on works in most populated areas of the planet... unlike my desk phone.

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Ditch the desk phone

    I spent much of the last 2 years wrking on and off for a company which has no desk phones (it might help that they probably don't bill themsleves for the workforce's mobile calls though). Having returned to an environment where there are more desk phones than people it seems, well, backward to be blunt. It might sound surprising but it's not uncommon to see phones flashing indicating waiting voicemail for days at a time because people aren't used to getting calls or messages on them (despite the numbers being listed in the corporate directory) so don't routinely check them.

    On the downside there half been at least a half dozen times over the last year when I have ended up 'stranded' with no battery at the end of the day, but that's more due to personal (dis)organisation meaning there was no charger to hand, and if I have any lingering doubts about brain cancer connections those 4 hour conference calls with a certain managed service supplier can't have helped.

    But generally speaking I can't shake this notion that soon the landline will be seen as a bit "70s office"

  18. Rasmus Watjen

    of course

    We did this a while back - but since we make and sell software which enables Fixed to Mobile Substitution (FMS/F2M), we are of course eating our own dog food.

    Our receptionist uses MobilePBX which is a software PBX application connected to a mobile phone on her desk to receive and transfer calls. With integrated real-time mobile availability status for all of our mobiles as well as calendar integration, she can easily see whether the intended recipient of a call is available or not - before she transfers a call.

    Our IVR (voice response) software handles our main company number and transfers to the correct department depending on the caller's choices.

    When we are at our computers, the rest of us use a CTI application which is connected to our mobiles using either cable or Bluetooth, so we can control the mobile from the PC - including dialing contacts straight from CRM, Outlook, and more.

    If you should be interested, check out

  19. DV Henkel-Wallace

    any startups still use desk phones?

    We have an 8-person startup using only mobiles (with one VOIP "main" number that we practically never answer but just check messages).

    Since we're still in development we don't have any customers to satisfy; most callers (basically investors and vendors) just call someone directly. We do use the main line for the conference phone.

    If we were at the customer stage then it would be different. Even now, since we're in the USA, coverage isn't great so sometimes we miss a cleaner line.

    We pick up peoples' phone bill of course. Because we're relatively small we don't qualify for any special rate anyway so we just pay for whatever plan the person has (unless they have the million unit plan, but nobody so far does).

    I know of plenty of other startups that are using the same approach.

    The one issue is changing personnel. If we give out somene's mobile #, once they leave we're screwed. We haven't found a good solution to that. Fine, we could give out an external number and forward the call from the outside to a mobile via VOIP, but a call back from the mobile will show the mobile's caller ID. For now we solve that problem by sticking together, but again, that's an apprach that doesn't scale.

    Seems like there's an opportunity for someone to make a good business from this...

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