One in five households ditch home phones

End of the landline? One in five households ditch home phones – and 72 per cent of those who keep them say it’s only for the broadband, show figures

  • Research by comparethemarket.com showed 1 in 5 homes still have landlines
  • Less than a quarter of 18 to 34 year olds found to have landlines in their homes
  • 20% of people said they got rid of home phone due to cold calls and scammers

It was once considered an important status symbol – but having a home phone is increasingly seen as a costly white elephant.

New figures show that one in five households no longer bother with a landline, and almost a third of those that do never actually use it.

The vast majority of people who still have a home phone – 72 per cent – say they only have it because it is part of their broadband package.

New figures from price comparison site comparethemarket.com found one in five households no longer have a landline, with almost a third of those never actually using it. Picture: Stock

Research from price comparison website comparethemarket.com also shows that less than a quarter of 18-to-34-year-olds use landlines at all, preferring to rely on their mobile phone.

But that’s not the only reason to ditch the home phone – 20 per cent of those surveyed said that they were fed up with the number of cold calls and would-be scammers.

Digital media expert Dr Elinor Carmi said there was a generational and social divide in phone use. She explained: ‘If you’re young and have the mobility to go outside, you would rely on a mobile phone. But if you are older, disabled and perhaps poorer, our research shows you’re more likely to use a landline.

‘If you are richer, you will have access to more smart devices – a smart TV, smartphone or laptop. But the poorer you are – or if you are older, your use of these devices is more limited.’ 

Landlines were at their most popular in the late 1990s when 95 per cent of households had one.

Last year, research from regulator Ofcom found that the amount of time spent on landline calls annually in the UK had halved over just six years, to 54 billion minutes.

Less than a quarter of 18-to-34-year-olds use landlines at all, preferring to rely on their mobile phone. Picture: Stock

The new study also revealed that more than a quarter of households have looked into swapping to a broadband provider that does not charge for their unused landline, but only six per cent have done so.

Neena Bhati, head of campaigns at consumer group Which?, said: ‘Anyone with a landline that they do not use should make sure their package is not charging them extra for call time that they don’t need.’

Holly Niblett, from comparethe market.com, said: ‘At about £200 a year, line rental charges are a 20th Century hangover in an increasingly digital age.

‘Ofcom analysis shows that buying broadband as a package bundle can be cheaper than purchasing these services with different providers.’

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