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The Telephone: a Thing of the Past

Author: AboutMyArea HeadOffice Published: 20th September 2012 09:44
As millions ditch using landlines, why are we forced to pay for them?

an old-fashioned telephoneNew research by consumer help website MoneySavingExpert.com shows home phone use is now a rarity in many homes - with mobiles or internet calls taking over.

A poll of 20,608 site users showed the majority now rarely or never use a home phone.

Key stats...
  • 80% of those under 30 don't have a home phone or rarely use one.
  • 51% of all age groups don't have a home phone or rarely use one.
  • The home phone is still alive for older people - 70% of those aged 61+ use their home phone for most, if not all, calls.

This is why MoneySavingExpert.com is today calling on providers and the Government to work together to stop forcing consumers to pay for a home phone service when they order broadband, given some don't need it.

Martin Lewis, creator of MoneySavingExpert.com, comments: "Many younger people mainly use their mobile. If the home phone rings, it's likely to be their parents or a PPI spammer. For many people the landline is now a dead duck, yet they're forced into it to have broadband - effectively a double charge.

"This is a strange state of affairs for a country trying to lead in the information superhighway. While the advent of 4G mobile broadband may mitigate this somewhat for those with good connections, surely it's time people were allowed a broadband-only line and ensuing discount."

Full MoneySavingExpert.com landline poll results

Landline use

Frequency

Under 30

30-60

61+

Don't have a home phone

27%

9%

5%

Never/rarely use a home phone

53%

45%

14%

Use home phone for under 40% of calls

10%

14%

7%

Use home phone for roughly half of calls

4%

6%

5%

Use home phone for more than 60% of calls

3%

9%

13%

Use home phone for all/almost all calls

4%

17%

57%

The question asked was "What percentage of (non-work) calls made and received are on your home phone compared to mobile/web calls?"

Based on 20,608 users polled on MoneySavingExpert.com between 28 Aug and 3 Sep 2012.

 

MoneySavingExpert.com's tips to cut landline costs

Millions feel forced to keep it just for broadband. Hopefully, 4G mobile broadband will solve this, though the Government should act too. For now, here are MoneySavingExpert.com's Martin Lewis' top tips.

"Unless you've a Virgin connection, you need a landline for broadband at home. So minimise the cost. The cheapest line rental on the market is Primus Line Rental Saver at £7.99 a month via the Homephonechoices website. This doesn't include any calls - but should save you around £80/yr compared to BT standard current line rental, and £90/yr when prices are hiked in the new year.

"If you do need calls, again, its Primus Home Phone Saver at £9.19/mth includes evening and weekend calls to landlines. If you want to stick with BT, then the cheapest way is to pay £129 for a year upfront for BT Line Rental Saver which will cut £50 a year off.

"Unless you've cable or are in Hull, all lines are BT lines, regardless of whether you're billed by Primus, Sky or others. So switching isn't an issue, unless you're with a provider only offering broadband as part of a phone bundle (eg Sky, TalkTalk) or you've a linked burglar/personal alarm."

Landline pros

  • Home phones are available everywhere, yet many areas are susceptible to poor mobile reception, particularly in the countryside.
  • You are more likely to get good call quality, whereas many mobile calls often fail due to poor signal.
  • Many landline packages give you inclusive minutes to use to call other landlines.
  • Calls to 0800 numbers are free from landlines, but not from mobiles yet (see the 0800 numbers MSE News story), unless you have a smartphone and use a cost-cutting app such as the 0800 Wizard.
  • Calls to 0870 numbers are not cheap from a landline - though some include them as free minutes - but they are notoriously more expensive when calling from a mobile.
  • Some home phone packages include free international calls to certain destinations.
  • Some broadband packages are cheaper if you also take a home phone line.

Landline cons

  • Lack of convenience, ease and functionality.
  • It can be money down the drain if you don't make calls, given many now use a mobile for all calls.
  • Calls to mobiles can be expensive and generally aren't included in free call packages, whereas they are from mobiles.
  • It's harder than on a mobile to see who is calling you, in case you want to avoid telemarketing or other calls.

Full home phone best-buys:
www.moneysavingexpert.com/homephone

 

 

 

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