Will we see the end of the landline soon?
The number of UK households with a landline has fallen dramatically in recent years, as more and more of us rely on our mobile phones for making and receiving calls.
Recent research from Uswitch has revealed that, since the year 2000, four million homes have disconnected their landline altogether. And of the 80% of homes that do still have a landline, a quarter (26%) don’t even have a handset plugged in.
Over a quarter of households –– roughly five million –– claim that they never use their landline for phone calls. In fact, landline use even dropped during lockdown when millions were stuck at home. Instead, many of us opted for video calls on apps like Zoom and Houseparty rather than dialling up a conversation with friends on our landlines.
In a lot of cases, landlines are still required for a broadband connection. And more than a third of people (35%) said that this was the only reason they had a landline in the first place.
In the last 20 years since landlines were at their peak popularity, mobile phones have become much more common. And with that, the cost of making calls on your mobile has dropped as well, with free calls often included in many monthly plans.
With all your contacts stored in one place, and the cost of calling significantly lower, it’s no surprise that many people are ditching their landlines.
Another reason many of us avoid using a landline is the constant barrage of nuisance calls from telemarketing companies and scammers. Nearly three in ten people (29%) say the last person to phone was a nuisance caller, with the proportion of scam calls rocketing six-fold since 2017 according to research from Ofcom.
More than a fifth of consumers with a landline (22%) say they avoid answering their phone in case it is a nuisance call, and over a quarter of older people (28%) have had a bad experience with scam and sales callers.
Over a third of households (35%) have registered for the Telephone Preference Service to dodge nuisance calls. Younger consumers have taken more drastic action to avoid such calls, with 18 to 34-year-olds often not answering the landline altogether.
There’s a big generational divide when it comes to landlines, as 95% of the over-65s still have one, compared to just 52% of 18 to 24-year-olds.
Landlines are also still important for those living in rural areas or places where mobile phone reception is weak or unreliable. More than four-fifths of rural households (83%) have a landline, compared to less than two thirds (65%) in urban areas.
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