Thursday, 12 November 2009

The Decline in Home Phone Usage

The use of a fixed line home phone has become less popular as mobile phones have become more widespread. For many a fixed phone line is only necessary in order to receive broadband as calling costs are covered by inclusive minutes as part of a mobile phone contract. Those without an internet connection or with a mobile broadband contract may forgo having a phone line at all.

Not being able to make phone calls whilst on the move was the norm where now the idea seems strange. It seems odd to me that I once only had the ability to go online at home rather than being able to use an internet enabled phone whenever and wherever. The rise in email and applications such as Windows Live Messenger Mobile and the Skype mobile means that most forms of communication are always available.

"Having a landline is about having a commitment to place as much as anything. Mobile phones are about mobility in a much deeper sense than just convenience. It's about not being rooted in the same way as a landline, which gives a feeling of stability."
Ben Highmore, University of Sussex

In 2007 a survey found that 15% of households had at least one mobile phone but no landline. The recessions is likely to have increased this figure as households cut back on what they see as luxuries. Whilst most people seem to be unwilling to stop using the internet altogether mobile broadband can offer savings to those with less frequent usage patterns. Three million UK homes now have a mobile broadband contract and that figure is growing rapidly.

As a recent BBC article on the subject points out those in rented accommodation are reticent about paying £120 to have a phone line activated when that figure could pay for around 8 months worth of mobile broadband. BT is attempting to encourage us to use our home phone for important conversations. Unfortunately for them a lot of mobile phone contracts include unlimited calls and people are unlikely to pay twice for anything during a recession.

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