Bin your landline. If you can.
Some of you are probably old enough to remember times when every house didn't have a phone. In an emergency, perhaps you had to run down the street to your neighbour and use their phone. Flash gits. The folks on the Mobot side of the office are far too young to recall those strenuous times.
Well, times they are a-changing and not having a phone is becoming more and more common.
Of course, these people are not eschewing verbal conversation entirely, they are merely giving their land line the brush off. According to phone services regulator Ofcom, about 80% of households had both a fixed line and mobiles in the first quarter of 2006, while only 10% had a mobile only. In the first quarter of 2010, 78% had a fixed and mobile service, while 14% had a mobile only.
Perhaps some of the reason for this can be laid at the door of the telecommunications companies themselves. All the major players in the UK market have recently announced price rises to their land line service- Talk Talk's charges have just increased from £12.04 to £12.60 a month, BT increased rates from £13.60 to £13.90 last week and Virgin Media's increase from £12.24 to £12.99 applied from the start of April. Sky is also set to raise rates next month but has yet to announce by how much.
Another reason could be the fact that the cost of mobile calls is falling, while the cost of landline calls is rising. Ofcom reports that mobile calls have dropped from an average 15.1p a minute in 2004, to 8.8p in 2009 while the cost of land line calls has risen from 6.6p to 7.3p. Two years on, it is likely that mobile calls cost the same, or cheaper, than land line calls.
So why doesn't everyone ditch the landline then? Well, quite simply because the telephone companies would much rather you didn't, and services included in bundles including a land line are cheaper than those without. For example, you can get a broadband deal from Plusnet at £3.24 a month, plus £11.99 a month for land line (including evening and weekend calls) making a total of £15.23. This is £5.77 less than Virgin’s broadband-only deal at £21, which only offers half the broadband speed at 10Mb.
Of course, the phone companies would have you believe that they need to run a landline to your house in order to supply your services, but in reality, this is a rapidly dwindling good reason. Virgin already uses a fibre optics network to deliver its broadband and TV services, and BT is upgrading its lines to fibre optics. However BT still require customers to have a land line, as do Plusnet, which has also recently launched fibre optics to about 10% of its customers. Perhaps firms are reluctant to give up their lucrative land line customers...