BLOG: Death of the landline

An acquaintance asked the other day for my home number and I was slightly embarrassed to say that I didn't know it. So embarrassed in fact that I actually lied and told them I'd only just moved into my flat and therefore hadn't yet memorised it. I've been in the same residence for just short of a year and a half. The truth is I don't know it off by heart and the reason, why would I need to. If someone asks me my number these days the only digits I'd think of providing is that of my mobile. This got me thinking, is the mobile phone actually killing off the landline?


Using your mobile phone as you're primary means of contact has obvious benefits. We're so used to having our mobile with us at all times that we feel lost without it, and therefore rarely let it leave our side. In fact there is now a recognised condition called "nomophobia" to describe that very feeling of lost ness. As a result we're always contactable, whereas to catch someone on their landline they of course have to be within the vicinity.


Furthermore while we would previously often wait to get home before having that half an hour natter with a friend or family member, we now won't think twice about making that call on our mobile. Operators are currently involved in a war with each other regarding tariffs. They're becoming more and more competitive, with additional incentives such as the highest end handsets or even free gifts like a Nintendo Wii. Free calls to other mobiles are commonplace giving us access to each other no matter where we may be 24/7. Of course there's a monthly contract fee attached, but as you're already paying for this you might as well make the most of it right?


Even calling abroad with your mobile is now possible, something that would have previously guaranteed a minor heart attack when you opened your monthly phone bill. An array of Mobile Virtual Network Operators (MVNO) such as Lebara, Lycamobile and Nomi are offering low cost international calls from as low as 4p a minute to any Australian or Chinese landline or 7p to any Indian mobile for example. In addition, Skype is increasingly being included in mobiles, most notably with the Skypephone S2.


It's not all doom and gloom for the likes of BT and co. Not only have they got their fingers very much in the broadband pies, but office landlines are still widely used (though not as much as yesteryear we'd be willing to wager). However, we wouldn't be at all surprised to see the mobile phone within the next ten years as not just the primary form of telephone contact, but also the sole form of contact.

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