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Saturday, May 15, 2021

Is it the end of the line for landline phones?

Is it the end of the line for landline phones?

Four million homes have dropped their fixed line phones since 2000 a trend which may see a post-pandemic boost.
When did your home landline last ring?


On the rare occasion it does, we all know the chances are it's going to be a scam caller, especially since in the last year our elderly parents have all mastered Whatsapp and Zoom.

Plus mobile calls have come down in price over the last decade.

As a result, 40% of us have stopped using a landline phone altogether, according to new survey from price comparison site Uswitch.

And while 95% of over-65-year-olds still have a traditional phone, nearly half of under-25s don't even have a landline installed.

So could we be about to hang up our home handsets once and for all?

"We've been locked inside for a year, but landline use has actually fallen," points out Uswitch's Nick Baker.

"Work-from-home and study-from-home has forced people to get used to video calling. It's taken away the fear for a lot of people, especially the older generation," he adds.

In 2000 95% of homes had landlines, now that's fallen to around 80% of homes. But even in homes that have fixed line, many just have it because it comes as part of a package supplying broadband. A quarter of them don't have a handset attached.

The survey, which spoke to 2,000 people in March this year, found those of us with landline phones were spending an average of only five minutes a day making calls with our fixed-line phones.

And during lockdown, while 15% of us said we were using our landlines more than before, 27% of us said we were using it less.

One common problem is calls from scammers and salesmen.

Nearly a quarter of us are now avoiding answering the landline when it does ring, because of the high chance it will be a nuisance call.

A lot of people have picked up new technology during the pandemic

Many people are also under the impression that, once they've got a landline installed, calls will be cheaper on that than on a mobile. But Mr Baker says that's another thing that's changed in recent years.

"Actually the cost of calls on a mobile has fallen dramatically, especially if you make them over the internet," he says.

But some parts of the country, particularly in rural areas, a landline remains essential for many.

Patchy mobile signals mean it may be some time before full-fibre broadband is rolled out to all homes, Mr Baker said.

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