Could this be the end for landlines?

9th January 2019

Could this be the end for landlines – Time spent using landlines in Britain has halved compared to six years ago.

Recent Ofcom data has shown that the time spent using landlines in Britain has halved compared to six years ago, while the demand for mobile phone data has increased tenfold.

The stats from Ofcom’s data shows that the demand for landline calls has dropped from 103 billion minutes in 2012 to 54 billion in 2017, while mobile call minutes increased from 132.1 billion to 148.6 billion. Meanwhile, the average person’s demand for instant messaging and internet phone calls has increased from 0.2 gigabytes to 1.9 gigabytes.

Ofcom has claimed that the move to ditch landlines and switch to mobile phones could end the need for remembering phone numbers or even having to dial them.

Liz Greenberg, head of numbering at Ofcom, said that

“Some of us can remember a time when we stored phone numbers in our head, rather than our mobile. But the way we use and feel about telephone numbers is changing”

 “In the future, as more calls are made over broadband, dialling codes won’t need to be fixed to a particular part of the country. So the question is – could area codes become a thing of the past?”

This switch from landlines to mobiles could be encouraged by Ofcom’s objective to improve coverage in rural areas. In December 2018, Ofcom introduced new rules to encourage operators to improve coverage for 140,000 new homes and offices in the UK within the next four years.

Current figures show that 89 percent of urban homes and offices have complete 4G coverage, while the figure for rural premises who have complete 4G coverage is 41 percent which is less than half.

The telecoms regulator said that,

“The number of landlines fell by 1 percent to 33.1 million last year, as a result of business switching to mobile and VOIP based voice services”

The demand for mobile internet services has grown massively, with 67 percent of people using mobile phones for general browsing online which was up from 28 percent in 2011 and 76 percent using it for web and data access, which was up from 35 percent in 2011

These stats just show how the world is changing and where it heading to. If it the trend continues at the current pace, soon over the years most businesses would have switched to using mobile and VoIP services and landlines will be a thing of the past.

Ofcom are currently trialling the use of blockchain technology until April 2020 to see how they can manage UK landline numbers more effectively. They are claiming that the use of blockchain technology could improve customer experience when moving a number between providers and potentially reduce nuisance and calls and fraud.