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Aussies still hang on to their landlines

In the era of mobile phones and smartphones many Australians still find it difficult to give up their trusty landline phone services, with a new survey revealing that 55% still have a landline phone.

A survey of 2005 phone users by comparison website finder.com.au also found that just over a quarter — or 29% — rely solely on their smartphones and, of those who still have a landline, 42% say they regularly make calls, while 19% say they never use it.

A further 13% keep their landline in case of emergencies and 5% hang on to it for international calls. The survey also found that 1% of Australian adults (187,175 people) don’t even know what a landline phone is.

And according to finder.com.au, while two in five Gen Ys (42%) use smartphones exclusively, a surprising 16% of baby boomers have already cut the cord on their landline.

While the research found that 55% of Aussies are still holding on to their landline and are recluctant to let it go, it raises the question as to how many still have it as an unwanted and unnecessary part of their ADSL plan?

Angus Kidman, tech expert at finder.com.au, says, “We’ve heard about the death of the landline for years now, but by 2025, it will truly have run its course”.

“Smartphones have become cheaper and cheaper to run, with most plans offering unlimited calls and texts, so it’s become a lot harder to justify keeping a landline.

“Many Australians don’t want to pay a home phone bill and a mobile bill every month, and it’s easy to choose what they’ll ditch.”

Kidman says that as the NBN continues to roll out with the aim of being completed by 2020, the network will replace most existing landlines.

“Once the NBN comes through, I predict even more Aussies will ditch their landline phones. While many providers will offer phone services via an Internet connection — also known as VoIP — only a select few with fibre to the premises will have the option of a back-up battery service that will let them use their phone during a blackout.

"For an increasing number of Aussies in every age bracket, the convenience of mobile phones means they never go near landlines."

So, if you still have an old-fashioned landline here’s what finder.com.au says you need to consider before ditching it:

1. Are you on a bundle?

If your home phone is bundled with your broadband plan, you might want to check how long is left on your contract and make the switch then. That will provide a good opportunity to re-evaluate your Internet plan and make sure you’re on the best deal.

2. Are you connected to the NBN?

A big factor for reconsidering a landline phone is whether your home is NBN-connected. Before you make your decision,  enter your address and check if your home is NBN-ready.

3. Do you have the right mobile phone plan?

Most phone plans include unlimited national calls and text messages, so make sure your current plan offers this. If international calls are a priority, choose a plan that includes international minutes. You’ll also need to double check the fine print to ensure the countries you make your calls to are on the list.

4. Let your friends and family know

The last thing you want is friends and family not being able to get in touch with you. Share your phone number with everyone and let them know you have disconnected your landline.

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Peter Dinham

Peter Dinham is a co-founder of iTWire and a 35-year veteran journalist and corporate communications consultant. He has worked as a journalist in all forms of media – newspapers/magazines, radio, television, press agency and now, online – including with the Canberra Times, The Examiner (Tasmania), the ABC and AAP-Reuters. As a freelance journalist he also had articles published in Australian and overseas magazines. He worked in the corporate communications/public relations sector, in-house with an airline, and as a senior executive in Australia of the world’s largest communications consultancy, Burson-Marsteller. He also ran his own communications consultancy and was a co-founder in Australia of the global photographic agency, the Image Bank (now Getty Images).