Amazon Alexa, Echo Enable Voice-Controlled Speakerphone
Amazon's Alexa app and Echo voice appliances can be used to make (no incremental cost) voice calls to other Alexa users and devices, showcasing one more way voice over Internet Protocol has become a substitute for legacy calling.
Alexa also can call “most phone numbers in the United States, Canada and Mexico” as well, essentially turning the Echo device into a voice-controlled speakerphone.
As is common with VoIP services, there are some limitations. There is no support for “911” emergency calls, premium-rate numbers (“1-900” numbers or other toll numbers, abbreviated dial codes (“211,” “411,”), dial-by-letter numbers (e.g. “1-800-FLOWERS”) or international calls to countries other than the United States, Canada and Mexico.
Of course, there is more than substitution going on. As legacy carriers move to replace their own calling services with IP platforms, some amount of former legacy voice then might be counted as part of the “VoIP” category.
But the largest impact is substitution, a process that occurs elsewhere in the telecom market. Consider demand for international bandwidth. In the early decades of the internet, “IP transit” was a product that service providers and transport providers bought and sold to move internet traffic, in addition to wholesale capacity of other types.
These days, much of the “public market” has essentially vanished, as major app providers and enterprises build and operate their own networks, obviating the need to buy capacity services from a service provider.
On routes across the Atlantic Ocean, such private networks carry 70 percent of all IP traffic. On Pacific crossings, private networks carry nearly 60 percent of traffic. On routes within Asia, private networks carry 60 percent of traffic.
The point is that IP-based apps and services cannibalize demand for existing services. That is as true for undersea capacity as it is for voice and messaging services.