/ Technology

Our poll results: we must keep landline phones

Red landline phone

When posed with the question ‘does anyone still use their landline’ most of our readers emphatically replied , ‘Yes!’ Our poll of 1,000 found that most of you weren’t ready to ditch your landline in favour of a mobile.

A few months ago, our technology researcher Ben Stevens asked a controversial question – why does anyone bother with landlines in the age of mobile phones?

For Ben, landlines are restrictive compared to mobiles. He can browse the web, text and email from his smartphone. But with a landline, he can only twiddle his fingers around the cord.

However, the opinion that landlines would fade out of existence within the next decade didn’t strike a chord with most of you.

Our poll on the matter enjoyed a huge response, with 1,000 (exactly) votes. Over two-thirds of you said that you used your home phone all the time. Now that’s what I call a majority.

This was followed by one in five saying they only found their landlines useful for relatives. And in a sorry last place was our final option, ‘home phones are pointless’. Only 11% of you agreed. Sorry Ben.

In support of discarding landlines

Of course, Ben did have his supporters in the comments. Andy Hessentale said that his home phone hadn’t rung since 2003, a call that brought back memories:

‘I remember the moment it last rang really well, it was a bloke who could barely read the script he had in front of him offering me a free quote on some new windows. Was a welcome distraction from the film I’d been watching at the time.’

Which? Convo commenter Usul agreed, saying that ‘my mobile is the only device I use for making and receiving calls, I know some people who have two mobiles, one for work and one for personal use.’

The majority wants to keep landlines

But the landline lovers united, with legitimate points supporting their continuing existence. Many of you argued that you couldn’t discard your landline as you didn’t have very good mobile reception where you lived. James R Briggs emphasised the point, ‘Ben Stevens clearly does not live in the country where the radio link is often poor or, in my case, often non existent’.

Commenter Phil brought up another important issue, this time around calling emergency services. He said that it’s always best to dial 999 from your landline as ‘your address will automatically appear on the operator’s computer which could save vital time’.

Here’s a question for you – would you trust a business that didn’t list a landline phone number? Commenter Phil Bartlett believed that this would constitute suspect behaviour, as dodgy salespeople often only show a mobile number.

And there appears to be one final problem holding us back from ditching landlines for good – if you want a home broadband connection, you have to pay for line rental. Our telecoms expert Ceri Stanaway agreed, ‘I wonder if line rental providers are missing a trick by failing to cater for people who, like Ben, only want a landline so they can get broadband.’

In a perfect world?

So, the question is, would you ditch your landline in favour of a mobile phone if we lived in a perfect world? A world where we didn’t need line rental for home broadband, where calls to 0845 numbers weren’t more expensive on mobiles, and where there was good network coverage across the country?

Or do you think that, even with these luxuries, the majority would once again vote for ‘hands off my landline!’?

Comments
Member

Interesting how many people don’t trust businesses that only have a mobile number. I must admit that I hadn’t thought about that point before but it’s an extremely good one.

I remember a TV programme a couple of years ago called something like ‘how to disappear and never be found’ and a significant point in that was that if you wanted to be untraceable a pay as you go mobile, bought for cash and topped up with cash, was a massive step towards being completely untraceable.

with that in mind I can’t believe how stupid I was not to link that to rogue traders as other contributors have done.

Member
Damn Young says:
18 July 2011

I ditched my landline 4 years ago, and I don’t miss it.

Member
KK says:
7 May 2013

I was a holdout, always liking to keep a landline phone for many of the reasons cited here.

However, after two years with the same phone number — Virgin Media just decided to change our phone number (and give the old one to a business). They did so without consulting or informing us.

Now, what good is any phone if the associated number is changed at will by the carrier.

Needless to say, I will never do business with Virgin again. Their horrible standard of engineering services (failure to show for appointments and lying about their attendance when CCTV proves otherwise) should have had me leaving earlier.

Member

I have had to switch to a more expensive landline tariff that covers weekend and evening calls to mobiles. I’m not going to call any mobile number during the day unless it is urgent. Some people don’t think of others.

Member

I had to ring Thompson & Morgan recently and guess what – they’ve got an 0844 number. Why is this?