/ 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?

Bob says:
9 July 2016

Surely I’m not the only person living in a semi-rural or rural area where the ‘phone coverage is still rubbish – even down here in the souith-east. The landline always works, the mobile often doesn’t unless I go out into the garden to the top of the back steps – and even then it is liable to drop out. You’re making the same mistake as all those touting the roll-out of smart meters, and it’s getting blooming annoying. We, in common I would assume with millions of others, can’t have a smart meter because the ‘phone signal for the providers they use isn’t good enough here. Please don’t keep ignoring us!

The obvious case for retaining a landline phone is where the users mobile network signal is weak &/or erratic due to insufficient capacity.

John says:
9 July 2016

I use a land line primarily, with cordless ‘phones for convenience. BUT if the power goes off, so do the ‘phones! And the mobile network may well go off too. So a cheap ‘phone that can be connected directly to the wall socket is essential, in my view, in case a medical emergency occurs when the power is off.
If one relies entirely on a mobile ‘phone, don’t be surprised if the network locks up when there’s any sort of emergency near by. It doesn’t take much to over-load the network…. (Think New-year’s eve just after midnight!)

The general advice is to have a corded phone for use in power cuts. I have one upstairs and another downstairs, even though I use cordless handsets at other times.

The last time I had a power cut, both the landline and the mobile stopped working. 🙁

It is essential in my view to have a corded phone, if only to ring the energy network company to find out what the problem is. They will also phone you back to advise progress or clearance of the fault. For £10 or so it really is a “no-brainer” (what an ugly phrase!). Or to tell the family you’re coming round for a cuppa.

My husband’s job is driving and I work in an exam centre. My phone has to be switched off when I am at work; he will not answer his when he is driving, so our land line is essential.

Jim says:
9 July 2016

On my travels working abroad I find that local calls are free which encourages more use of your landline.Why use your landline during the day on local calls when mobile contracts have an inclusive number of free calls.

A lot of us choose to have pay-as-you-go mobiles which do not, of course, give free calls.

I wish everyone would remember this.

Three and Tesco offer cheap PAYG calls these days. If I know someone is calling from a PAYG mobile I offer to call them back. People used to do this for me when I was on holiday and calling from a PAYG mobile.

Ian says:
10 July 2016

There are no ‘free’ calls. Some calls may count towards an ‘inclusive’ allowance (in which case you pay a monthly fee rather than a per-minute rate), but they are never ‘free’.

Even 080 numbers are not ‘free’. They are free-to-caller. The called party pays the caller’s phone provider for the call.

The phone companies always get their money.

Jim, your calls are not free – you pay for them in your contract? Agree they may be cheap if you make a lot. I’m PAYG and I reckon £20 lasts me several months; landline preferred at home for reasons stated above.
As far as Duncan Lucas is concerned, I too find that contacting or commenting to Which? is totally ignored – there is a large black hole in the system. Some of the narrative on tests and results is so infantile as to be insulting and the english used is occasionally very poor. Their collective memory on previous tests appears to only go back a few years with an obsession for common white goods. The De-Humidifier tests were very poor in scope and depth. I am seriously thinking of cancelling my membership. If I am paying £100 pa,, I also do not want to be talked down to like a child. Time Which? restored their standards.
Does anyone else not like the “new” presentation style? I find it not as easy to compare and takes longer to go through.
Rant over.

A mobile telephone might be adequate if you have a good mobile signal in all rooms of your house! We have a minimal or non-existent signal in some rooms, so have to have a landline. In fact I only switch my mobile on when I leave the house or if apps need updating.

We live in the countryside with very poor mobile connection on all services. Therefore a landline is essential in this household.

William Stewart says:
9 July 2016

I have never got into using a mobile phone,they seem to take over people’s lives .What most people do is fidget with them most of the time.They don’t seem to find time to have a conversation. If you need to make a phone call use the old landline say what you have to say and put the phone down until the next time you need it.

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If you go out, drive, go on hols, then I’d buy a £30 mobile phone on a pay-as-you-go tariff. You just add £10 whenever it runs low. You can then phone for a taxi, tell family you are on your way, make an emergency call (hopefully not necessary) and send a text message all for very little cost and without having to look for a public phone box. But I, like you, see no need to have one permanently attached to my head. Mine gets very little use but today I was in the garden centre, knew my son wanted some particular plants, rang him, bought them and told him I was on my way round for a quick cuppa. They have their uses.

It seems unfair to have freeview and cable TV with broadband yet even if you don’t use the landlines we’re still obligated to pay the extra for it this isn’t fair. Some are able to sign up for cable TV without having a landline because they never had a phone previously. What can be done I don’t want to move but £17 pcm for something not used is criminal.

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If you have cable and do not use your landline then can you not simply have it disconnected? However if your copper landline is still used it will require upkeep and so part of the £17 a month will still be due. Having a connection like that means you are likely to have a phone number so could receive incoming calls even if you don’t make outgoing ones. So that would potentially use exchange equipment and how are they to know you wouldn’t plug a phone in?

J.W. says:
9 July 2016

Even though we live close to large towns myself and my neighbours very rarely have signal and have to go into the lane or fields, rain or shine, to get one. All my friends joke that we live in a black hole and some messages can take hours or days to arrive.

Gwen says:
9 July 2016

If like us you have no mobile signal on any network within a mile of our property, a land line is still essential to bring even a slow broadband signal to our house

Linda says:
9 July 2016

Not everyone has a good mobile signal. Certainly when I’m at my sister’s I have to go outside and hold my mobile phone up high in order to make a call, and more often than not I can’t receive calls there, and she does not live in the middle of nowhere, so she has to have a land line phone. My brother lives in Germany, and the quality of his calls to me on his mobile is very poor, constantly cutting out, and our conversations are difficult. Land line calls are nearly always clear, easy and reliable. For heavens sake let’s keep our land line phones, at least until the mobile coverage gets a lot, lot better, even equal to home phones. In my case, I have included calls 24/7 (up to an hour) with my BT home phone package, which includes line rental, and would not wish to change to what I consider an inferior mobile service.

Michael says:
9 July 2016

I have no mobile phone signal at home. A landline is vital.
And what about sharing an incoming or outgoing call with two or more people, possibly in separate rooms?

There is no mobile signal in our valley, so we can only use a landline. Broadband is so poor that we often lose connection several times a day, so impossible to rely upon Mobile & Broadband.

Maggie Moran says:
9 July 2016

I always use my landline for calls from home because mobile reception is so poor here.

There will always be a need for some people to have a land line as it is their only way of having contact with the outside world in emergencies. I live in a rural area with overhead phone and electricity lines. We get constant power cuts because of lack of investment by the power company so when the power goes off our cordless phone doesn’t work so we have a corded one too.
We both have mobiles but as the coverage in our area is a bit iffy to say the least we would NEVER get rid of our land line.
If we had no land line and couldn’t get a signal with our mobile we would be left with no where to go as we also have no neighbours and are miles from the village.

When there is very poor mobile reception and broadband you have no choice….

For £7.95 a month unlimited calls its great value a sI have the line away for 1.5mb high speed broadband !

Our mobile connection here 3.5 miles South of Ripon Nirth Yorkshire is non existent so landline essential
Peter Wynne
Bishop Monkton

I use my Landline Telephone and Broadband package more than my “Pay as You Go” mobile phone. The reason for this is that I am left-handed and I have a “Heart Pacemaker” and that mobile phone signals for left-handed people can interfere with the operation of a “Heart pacemaker”.

Using a mobile on the handsfree setting will greatly decrease any effect on your pacemaker. It’s the same with the handsets for cordless landline phones.