In a multitasking age when a mobile phone is as versatile as a personal computer, why would anyone bother with a landline? Does anyone really use them any more?
I received a call from a university friend recently, not on the mobile number that’s saved to my handset’s phonebook, but from an unrecognised landline number.
I point out that he’s a uni friend to illustrate that he’s the same age as me (31) and more importantly, that he’s the only uni friend who’s ever called me from a landline.
It came as a surprise. I hadn’t really thought about it before, but there are only a few landline numbers saved in my mobile’s directory, and they’re seldom used.
Who uses a landline phone?
I have broadband at home so could plug in a landline phone – but I don’t. And I almost begrudge the small charge latently included in my package for my assumed phone line use. I share a flat with two friends – each of whom has a mobile phone – and the thought of getting a landline has never crossed our minds.
Perhaps it would be different if I were married with children. I asked some sub 35-year-old friends and only a few had a phone tethered to their walls back home. One said that he had a landline, but only took calls from his mum and mother-in-law.
Another colleague admitted to having a landline, but on closer inspection, discovered it was faulty. A repair wasn’t high on his list of priorities.
The freedom of a mobile phone
The reason I don’t have one, and don’t ever expect to, is because landlines are so restrictive compared to mobiles. I don’t have to rush downstairs to take a call, because my mobile follows me upstairs. And I can carry out a number of tasks on my mobile that I couldn’t on a home phone – web-browsing, texting, e-mailing and arithmetic, to name but a few.
Before attention is drawn to my avatar photo, I should point out that I believe a hardlined phone still has its place in the workplace – I don’t want to be pestered about my articles when I’m down the pub.
And of course there are the other benefits of a landline: it can be cheaper to make and receive calls, you have an excuse (‘I was out’) for not answering, the sound quality is often better, and it’s less likely to be lost. But for me, the pros just don’t stack up high enough.
Say goodbye to the landline
Many users swear by them however, but like cheques, I see them fading out of existence within the next decade.
There was a TV ad recently where a girl complained that her absent father always called her from his mobile. The company’s message appeared to be that a mobile call is a more flippant and less meaningful form of communication.
The ad struck me as nonsense – a contrived attempt to make people believe that landlines still have a place, when for me, they clearly don’t.
Do we need landlines in the age of mobile phones?
Yes - I use my home phone all the time (69%, 690 Votes)
I don't know - they're useful for relatives, but annoy with sales calls (20%, 195 Votes)
No - home phones are pointless (12%, 115 Votes)
Total Voters: 1,000