Just a few months ago, Facebook’s David Marcus announced the declining significance of the phone number. Not an exuberantly bold statement, but still, I decided to look into this.
I would start with saying that the phone number still is the most secure and personal way to talk to a specific person, since it rarely gets hacked. This is the reason why many companies use it as a preferred means to identify a new subscription to an online service. Many chat apps use it as a reference for your account, and applications also still offer regular phone calls as an alternative to VOIP or in-app calls.
Another important fact is that the quality of regular phone connections still outweighs that of VOIP or in-app calls in many countries across the world. When a call is important, you will rarely use other features than a direct phone call. That is why I find it a bit hasty to announce it’s death. Surely the use of the phone as the main tool of communication is reducing fast, but the relevance of a phone number has by no means been surpassed.
In my personal experience, introductory communication goes over mail, chat or VOIP. When it is time for a meeting, phone numbers are exchanged and later used to make sure the meeting will take place on the right place and time, since an internet connection is not always guaranteed, making a phone call more likely successful. Obviously this may change as more efficient software will come on the market.