Should you keep your landline?

With unlimited calls now a standard inclusion for mobile plans, why are some Aussies yet to hang up on their home phone?

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Many of us can't remember the last time the home phone rang. That trusty handset, plugged in at the wall, that serviced the conversations of an entire household – much to the delight of eavesdropping siblings on the other line.But then came the mobile phone, offering unrivalled freedom and accessibility. Aussies could now connect like never before. We could speak to friends on the go, screen calls and send texts instead of calling.

As mobiles evolved into the slick, user-friendly devices we know today, the range of phone plans on the market also improved. These days, unlimited calls and texts are a standard inclusion for most plans, along with a whole lot of data.

With the majority of Aussies now owning a mobile, the need for a traditional landline service is lower than it's ever been. Yet Finder research shows that 56% of Aussie households still own a home phone.

While this number may seem surprisingly high, the Australian Communications and Media Authority's latest annual report shows that landline ownership is on a steep decline with no signs of stopping.

The report found that the number of Aussie homes with a landline has plummeted from 83% in 2011 to just 58% in 2018. That's a drop of 25% in just 8 years.

Based on this decline, Finder expects the number of Aussie homes with a landline to drop to 50% by 2021, with remaining homes following suit over the next 15 years.

This means that by 2036, the humble home phone could be extinct. So why are some Aussies still holding on to their home phones?

Finder surveyed 5,313 Australians to find out.

The results showed 56% of Aussies still own a landline and it's the older generations who are the most reluctant to part with their home phones. The survey found that 73% of baby boomers still own a landline, compared to just 45% of gen Z.

For those who aren't digitally savvy, landlines are a familiar and reliable way to connect. For many older Aussies, it's a case of "if it ain't broke, don't fix it" when it comes to their home phone – going mobile may add unnecessary complications to the way they make calls.

The research shows 18% only own a landline because it came bundled with their Internet plan. While this may seem outdated on the surface, a sizable chunk of Australia's broadband network still relies on the landline network to function.

Telco customers with ADSL broadband (as opposed to NBN), still require the copper cables that landlines use to function properly. This means they still need an active landline connection to use the Internet. If they lose the landline, they lose the Internet as well.

A small portion of landline users are also holding on to their home phone because they use it to dial internationally. Before the prevalence of capped mobile plans and unlimited talk, using a landline for international calls was often the cheaper option, but these days, there is excellent value to be had for those seeking to dial internationally.

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