Fall in home use

Phone users hanging up on traditional landlines

Call ended: Fewer households have landlines

Five million households say they no longer use their home phone and the number who have a landline installed is falling sharply.

Although 80% of homes still have a landline, a quarter (26%) don’t have a handset. A third (35%) say they only have a landline because it is necessary for having a broadband connection.

Since 2000, the number of homes with a landline has fallen by four million to about 22 million, according to Uswitch.com, the comparison and switching service.

Its research reveals that on average, households spend just five minutes a day — 35 minutes a week — talking on their landlines, down more than a quarter (27%) from two years ago, when people made 48 minutes of calls a week. Older consumers make 46 minutes of calls a week on their landlines, compared to 25 minutes for young people.

Almost three in ten landline users (29%) say the last call they received was suspicious or an unsolicited marketing call, almost two-thirds higher than for those on mobile phones (17%). 

While the number of nuisance calls reported has not changed dramatically in recent years, the proportion of scam calls has risen to now make up more than one in four (26%) of unwanted contacts compared to 4% in 2017.

More than a fifth of consumers with a landline (22%) say they avoid answering their phone in case it is a nuisance call, and over a quarter of older people (28%) have had a bad experience with scam and sales callers. 

The research shows a generational divide in attitudes to landlines, with their popularity far lower among younger consumers. More than nine in ten (95%) of the over-65s have one, but this falls to four fifths (82%) of consumers aged 35 to 54, and ownership drops to just over half (52%) among 18 to 24 year olds.

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