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The Telephone Is Dead. Long Live The Smartphone

Wed 23 Mar, 2011 // Firstnumber Team
old phone

As one reign ends, so another begins. Though this may be seen as more of a usurpation than a natural succession, the transition from tradition to modernity has well and truly begun. The landline telephone is no longer the ubiquitous living room staple it once was, with an increasing amount of us viewing it as an unecessary expense on top of a monthly mobile phone bill.

For many, it simply doesn't make financial or social sense for a lot of people anymore. As our lives become far more mobile, as do our communication habits.

This state of affairs seems to be especially true for those under the age of 30, for whose ear the mobile phone has graced for the majority of their post-pubescent life. For this younger generation, the landline has gradually made its way into the history books, as a tool of yester year, a product of times gone by.

Perhaps this is over-dramatic. The fact remains however, that whatever appeal the landline once had has dwindled significantly. With cheap monthly deals available on mobile phones, many people, especially thiose whose transient pre-settled lives would benefit from a “house phone”, view a BT contract as surplus to their needs.

Furthermore, the recent decision by BT to raise call charges as of the 28th April. A rise of 9% will affect all 12 million of BT's loyal customers, while line rental will undergo a 30p increase to £13.90 per month.

According to Ofcom, the proportion of adults who live in a home that has a mobile phone but no landline phone in the UK currently stands at approximately 15% (the data dates back to Q4 of 2010).

It would be unwise to consider the move away from landlines as one driven solely by teenagers obsessed with texting and the immediate ability to update ones Facebook status, though they do and will continue to shape the future of our communication .

Nor would it be fair to assume that the only type of person who retains the right to own a landline – and uses it – is the elderly, or technologically challenged among us.

However, what we can be more certain of, is the definite move away from the landline as the unquestionable hub of our collective communications. It is too stationary, too restricted, and doesn't have enough apps to compete with the bright lights and convenience of the mobile phone.

This is especially true when we consider that smartphones today can offer a technological performance more impressive than the first trip to the moon.

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