/ Technology

Who needs a landline in the age of mobile phones?

Wired phone and mobile phone

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

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E Roberts says:
25 October 2010

Look around you — how many mobiles are TOYS to the user? Many older people perhaps can’t afford the exhorbitant price and the call charges too, as well as handling them. For business use they are undoubtedly great. But I believe overall use statist might make interesting viewing. And don’t forget they are subject to reception, a mobile’s no good if you can’t use it! Long live landlines.

riply says:
21 October 2012

Call on mobiles are routed through the landline network. All mobile networks use a gateway . No landline network no mobile phones. Its the backbone of the service. Parts of the call are done by masts and radiowaves. People asume its all wireless …. no. Also voice quality cant beat landline quality. No credit or power and a mobile is useless. Ever listen to a caller on the radio on a landline compared to a overcompressed mobile speech codec?. Calls connect quicker on a lindline too. 99.9% OF LANDLINE calls get a dialtone first time. How many time do you get a network busy message on your mobile. Also mobile networks overload with a slight spike in usage. Also mobile networks are not sesure the gsm encryption keys have been broke. Ppl who work in banks and credit unions where i live cant use mobile dealing with work related calls dealing with accounts and funds.


Why dont mobile phone providers offer you broad band aswell without having a land line 75% to 90% of people in the uk have mobiles so why should we be forced to get a land line if i was a mobile phone company i would look at this as there is a lot of people who have mobile and never use the land line it cost more in rent than my mobile does a month .

Floosy says:
15 March 2014

Malcolm Richards Oct 2010 says his landline follows him round the house, so it is possible to have a cordless landline.
Several months ago I started using a landline, not having had one for several years. I regret this, but true, in a power cut one can call out
I am considering going cordless for the landline and my mobile will be changed to payg.
Any wise mumblings for a 77 year old??

Richard M says:
5 June 2015

Get a corded phone as during a power cut a cordless phone won’t work as they have a base that relies on an electricity supply.

You could even just buy a cheap corded phone and store it away (Don’t forget where!!!) for a power cut if necessary.

Delora says:
24 September 2014

Nothin lasts for long joni mitchell.

Richard M says:
5 June 2015

I’m going back to using a landline telephone. I haven’t had a landline phone before but I’ve considered getting one for some time now. As part of an ‘add-on’ with Talk Talk, I will now be getting it connected. The main reason why I’m fed up with my mobile phone is the reception and the number of dropped calls. On some occasions during a call I can barely hear what’s been said or the interference is too disruptive. Then on other occasions I can be chatting and the call just cuts off.

For me the landline still has a place and the over-reliance on mobile phones will be detrimental during emergencies, particularly during power cuts.

I plan to purchase a corded phone for the reason that during a power cut I’ll know that it will work and I’ll know where to find it!!