/ Technology

Do you still use your landline?

Landline or mobile

Do you still use your landline at home to make calls – or are you one of the growing number happy to rely on a mobile?

In our house, it sometimes seems that the only calls we get on our landline these days are from people trying to sell us something or fool us into falling for some scam.

Could it be that the personal phone call is really going the way of the personal handwritten letter?

It seems some households are starting to think this way.

The percentage of UK households with a landline has fallen gradually from 95% in 2000 to 88% in 2012, while the percentage of mobile-only homes rose from 10% in 2006 to 15% in the first quarter of 2015.

Of course that means the vast majority of us still have a home phone. But is it really little more than an ornament gathering dust?

Earlier this year, culture minister Ed Vaizey even suggested that householders signing up for broadband packages could be exempted from the rental charge on their landline if they don’t use it.

One in five homeowners don’t make fixed-line calls, but have to pay for landline connections.

The case for mobile phones

Those who love their mobile might point to their convenience and to the great variety of things you can do with them.

Mobiles phones have started to define the daily life of many, if not most, adults in the UK. We use them to plan out our days, weeks, months and years, to stay in contact, to browse the internet, and exchange goods and services. In short, they’ve become far more than just phones.

Not surprising then, that users worldwide are forecast to reach 4.77 billion by 2017.

The case for a landline

For a start, smartphones run out of battery incredibly quickly – landlines don’t. And you don’t have to update the landline phone’s software every other month in case its operating speed slows to a crawl.

Another factor that might save the landline from becoming a technical dinosaur is that most broadband providers use a copper wire telephone network to deliver an internet connection to your home. And this requires an active phone line.

Some people also like to keep a landline in case they need to make an emergency call and fear that their smartphone will have run out of batteries.

How often do you use your landline to make calls?

At least once a day (40%, 929 Votes)

A few times a week (33%, 778 Votes)

Rarely (20%, 474 Votes)

Never (6%, 130 Votes)

I don't have a landline (2%, 39 Votes)

Total Voters: 2,350

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Perhaps, the home phone is safe for now, but how often do you use yours? Has it had its day or do you find it’s still a vital lifeline?

Comments
Member

Still being stopped from posting Patrick . Especially on things that look a bit controversial.

Member

Try again — second go– It seems to be the latest trend to to promote wi-fi only . This is why underground cables will NOT go out of fashion . Every fire alarm system that is not local is connected via underground cable to a central control be it private of council fire department . Every BB department store is connected under the ground to a central control that liaises with the Police to display photos/ criminal information on shop lifters etc . Every Nuclear power station is connected under the ground to a government department and contrary to public information every department of our Armed Forces is connected under the ground to HMG because satellites can be shot down and a second SECURE line of communication is vital . Government “Hot LInes ” are connected under the ground secretly . There is a lot more I can add but think on -just imagine if they were all wi-fi – it doesnt bear thinking .

Member

When Mobile calls don’t drop out at random due to goodness only knows what it might be a starter. But for those of us who want to make reliable calls Mobile is a constant nuisance, and the signal seems to be getting WORSE rather than better.
Hmmm…

Member

Your right richjenn14= mobile towers have only short distance of transmissions between them as you move from one cell to another to cover the whole country will cost a lot of money so ,as more and more of the population buy cell-net phones the existing towers get swamped with data and overload . Answer build a lot more towers and bigger transmitting data transmitters but then we are back to the “who pays ” situation just like 100 % fast broadband not yet achievable due to “who pays “

Member
Ann Brown says:
10 July 2016

I like my land-line phone for the simple reason the handset is more comfortable to hold, mobiles and cordless phones ie ones that you can take with you around the house, tend to slip up the side of ny head and I cannot hear properly. To explain all this I am 85!!!

Member

I so agree with your comment Ann. My landline telephone handset not only has the microphone where my mouth is and the speaker next to my ear but I can grip it in the fold of my neck while I go through papers or write notes. Dialling is also so much easier. Mobiles have their good points but only when on the move.

Member
David Seale says:
10 July 2016

I Can’t use mobile phones. I’ve tried & tried. I can switch it on after 3 or 4 attempts. It can take me about ten minutes to make a call on a mobile. I now just keep one in the car for emergencies.

Member

David I tried the low number of help websites including the standard wikhow and they were not very simple with modern phone layout . So I found a wiki one that will do although its for an iPhone it still applies and is nicely laid out in colour . The website is== wikihow.com/Make-Phone-Calls-With-the-iPhone-4–(remember to scroll DOWN ).

Member
Linda Saunders says:
19 July 2016

My husband is exactly the same. We both only use mobiles for emergencies or contacting each other at pre-arranged times but usually it is me ringing him to our landline.

Member

David – There are simple mobile phones for those who struggle with standard models. Doro is the only company I am aware of, but there may be others.

Member
Suzie says:
10 July 2016

Without a landline I would be unable to make calls as I do not have mobile reception.
I am also in the 5% that will not get fibre broadband in the foreseeable future.
Some of the joys of living in the countryside.

Member
Wimbledon says:
10 July 2016

I have a landline for broadband internet. Otherwise no use for it. Mobile package has plenty of minutes and data included. Phone is on you all the time and no need to remember any numbers. Can use a Bluetooth headset or speaker if doing something else too. Annoying how line rental keeps on climbing. And why for fibre broadband do they include telephone line rental??

Member

Wimbledon -Murray won didnt he ? anyway you pay maintenance for the upkeep for the underground cable and exchange equipment as well as your overhead wiring fibre or no fibre . IF you dont see rental on some packages it is because they have included it in the price of the package . Bad weather brings down overhead wiring , water gets into underground cable , builders dig up telephone cable with JCB,s etc etc this has to be repaired or would you like a few £!00 bill every so often or if you live in the country and 2 miles of wiring come down £500- £2000 ? Its nice when you have fast 4G or even faster 5 G but 100,s of 1000,s dont and cant use all those facilities you use .

Member
Steve D says:
11 July 2016

I was thinking of getting rid of my Virgin landline home phone the last time our Virgin contract came to an end as we rarely seem to use our landline these days! The only incoming calls we seem to get are from nuisance callers or people trying to sell something. The Virgin landline line rental is now £17.99 per month that’s £215.88 per year for something we don’t really use much.
You can get a Virgin broadband and TV package without the landline but the pricing of the package without the landline was nearly as expensive as the package with the landline included??? Which seemed strange …
They offered me a discount for 12 months if I stayed on a Landline, Broadband and TV package! Surely it would make sense to give people the option of a TV and Broadband package without having to have the landline at a reasonable price… I think they are just happy charging people £17.99 per month for the privilege of your landline phone just sitting there and gathering dust! : (

Member

Steve -Virgin make a good bit of money out of their landline provision thats why there is little difference in the package . Their philosophy is that you might use it in the future and your right they are happy charging you for it –and so are the shareholders.

Member
Mike says:
11 July 2016

1. I need it for broadband connection. 2. There is no mobile network which provides a consistent, quality connection + often too bad for internet or sending picture messages. I live only 5 minutes from the town centre and on a higher level.

Member

As others have said, mobile coverage in some parts of the country is patchy – notably rural Herefordshire! I don’t carry my mobile around with me in the house, so if someone rings me on it when it’s in another room, I often miss the call. I have a 4-station cordless landline system – only its base station needs to be near a phone line so I can have others dotted about the house – I’ve even modified one sub-station’s charger to work off the solar-charged battery system in my summerhouse, which is completely off-grid and about 20m from the house. So I’m always within earshot and easy reach of one of these wherever I am in the house or garden.

Add to this, most landline phone companies charge silly amounts to ring a mobile – I’m not prepared to have my technophobic elderly relatives overcharged to ring me – and I need the landline for broadband.

Perhaps I’m old-fashioned, but when I was in business, I thought any outfit that only gave a mobile number was a bit ‘Mickey Mouse’ – no proper premises etc.

Finally, the cordless phones live in their charging holsters and are therefore always available. The mobile’s battery is always going flat – worse still for so-called ‘smartphones’ – that’s why I still have my old builder’s Nokia 3330….

Member
Ian says:
11 July 2016

Inclusive calls from landlines to mobile numbers is now ‘a thing’.

Member

Ian-Seemingly inclusive calls to mobile numbers is NOT the “thing ” with BT yet . i just checked my BT plan which is the TOP plan Infinity 2 etc etc and it is =half price calls/minute rate to mobiles .

Member
Ian says:
12 July 2016

BT includes calls to mobiles numbers on business plans, but not yet on residential plans. They are far behind Sky, TalkTalk and Virgin Media.

Sky’s anytime deal includes calls to UK mobile numbers as standard.
TalkTalk offers an inexpensive add-on for making calls to mobile numbers.
Virgin Media offers an expensive call plan that covers calls to UK mobile numbers as well as calls to a variety of international destinations.
BT is now the odd one out in still charging a per-minute rate for calls to UK mobile numbers.

Member

Thanks for that Ian.

Member
JC says:
11 July 2016

The line quality is why I keep the landline going. Sometimes the mobile signal is so bad I have to call back on the landline.

Member
Alan says:
11 July 2016

As several people have said already those of us living in the countryside ( less than 4 miles outside of a town mind you!) have to suffer the problems of totally rubbish broadband speeds and also virtually nil mobile phone signal (unless you want to hang out of the window waving your mobile around). So for millions of us the landline is invaluable and will be for a long time yet as the telecoms industry is only interested in the urban areas.

Member
Philip Knight says:
11 July 2016

Agree with Alan. Only one network and that is unreliable. Long live landlines

Member
John says:
12 July 2016

Wouldn’t be without a landline and landline based phone. Also keep one old-style wired phone on the landline, just in case the battery dependent cordless ones fail!

Member
Julie Lamont says:
12 July 2016

If you live in rural areas the chances are you have very little or NO mobile connection! It’s alright for those of you living in towns and cities but vast areas of the country do not have reliable mobile connection and we rely on our landlines.
don’t have an emergency in the countryside – BT has removed nearly all phoneboxes despite knowing there is no reliable phone communication in an emergency!

Member

Julie -I get your point on the removal of phone boxes by BT . It depends on the use made in each box whether it is kept or not and as those boxes are usually in isolated positions a case has to be made to petition BT by the local population to keep them as they represent a major loss of revenue to BT in maintenance due to distances from the exchange . No other companies want to take them over . Many councils/villages have kicked up a fuss and managed to keep them but mobile phones have hit them hard . That mobile reception isnt good in outlying areas is down to all the private companies not willing to install cell-net masts universally . BT has realised it has some loyalty to the public by keeping and maintaining boxes in far out areas and villages of architectural importance and spacing them out maybe one large village taking care of several smaller communities round about . But BT is a private company and not the old GPO where money wasnt an object no matter where you lived . Those days are gone for good .

Member
Colin Suter says:
13 July 2016

Moving to the sticks but do not see the point of landline. I always have my iPhone in my pocket wherever I am – indoors or out.
Would rather pay for broadband on its own and have an aerial which automatically switches my cellphone to WiFi if 3G signal fails. I understand that this can be done but most phone providers are unhelpful in providing this.
Why?

Member

If you read many of the previous posts Colin you will find when you move to the “sticks ” -aka countryside that your cellnet service will suffer a great loss and as I have said previously try downloading 4 G of films etc without landline -and wait -and wait and say BT wi-fi that depends on the population who have that service okay in a town etc closely together but not in a rural area of farming small villages etc . 3G wont “hack it ” in the countryside – if you can get a signal just look at the previous 50 posts to find other posters complaining of loss of signal due to trees distance etc cell net structure is what it sounds cells(towers ) joined together a short distance apart and when they reach the countryside ? the investment comes to an end (no profit ) . You could try something illegal but I am not going to help you there. Is the switch an auto wi-fi 3G data switch this type of thing isnt always approved by companies for various technical reasons, but in the country ?? .

Member
Phil says:
14 July 2016

” Moving to the sticks but do not see the point of landline. ”

You will…

Member
Robert says:
14 July 2016

The fixed-line phone comes into its own in two situations for us. First of all (and most relevant), it’s significantly cheaper to phone relatives abroad. Secondly, on an unmetered tariff, it reduces arguments when the teenagers want to talk to their friends…

Member
Stephen says:
15 July 2016

For many people the copper telephone line is either the only way they can get wired internet access or it is the last part of the connection to the home (fibre optic then the copper telephone line).

This has to be paid for; without it no wired internet (unless you have fibre to the home). Presumably ISP’s make more money by bundling a telephone service with the copper wire than simply charging the rent for it. At least one ISP will offer you the option of renting just the copper line without a phone service.

The issue here is that ISP’s try to confuse pricing by offering broadband deals with the copper line/phone rental a separate a item. It is about time OFCOM sorted something out here. I doubt it would mean lower prices overall but it would be more transparent.

Member

Stephen, I agree with the first part.

However, when you take a broadband deal it may be priced for different options – phone packages such as weekends, all day, international, mobiles – and broadband downloads, limited or unlimited, all at different prices. The line rental will be a single price, whichever plan you want. Therefore it does seem sensible to price that separately.

As long as the line rental and the bb package prices are clearly shown I see that as preferable, Bundling them together reduces transparency in my view.