The household item that could soon disappear


Long gone are the days when siblings would fight over who would use the home phone to call their friends or dial up to the internet.

And if new research is correct the formally familiar and once-favoured home landline is quickly on the way out altogether.

Finder.com.au a comparison site, conducted an analysis of Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) data and found landlines are forecast to vanish from households by 2037. 

A forecast of the percentage of Australians with a landline from 2018 to 2038. Source: Finder

“With the rollout of the NBN, it’s likely we could see homes ditch their landline a lot sooner than we anticipate,” said Alex Kidman, Tech and Telco Expert at finder.com.au.

Mr Kidman said the need for landline phones is decreasing, and many homes only use smartphones already.

“In fact, it’s likely that many young Aussies will grow up without the sound of a landline phone ringing through their homes,” he explained.

“Most phone providers offer plans with unlimited calls and text at prices similar to, and often less than home line rental fees.

“If you’re receiving reliable reception there’s really no need to fork out for a landline phone too.”

Image of a vintage rotary dial telephone for sale in New York. Source: Getty

In 2017 the number of Australian households reporting they had a home phone was just 64 per cent, down from 83 per cent six years earlier.

It is due to this rapid decline that in just three years it is thought only 50 per cent of households around the country will have a landline connected.

“Even at current decline rates, by 2035 the number of Aussies with landlines would only be the equivalent of the population of South Australia,” Mr Kidman said.

According to previous research carried out by the comparison site, only 29 per cent of Australians who have a landline use it regularly.

Thirteen per cent said they never use their landline and only one in six claimed they merely had one to connect to the internet.

Mr Kidman also said those who keep landlines due to emergencies may also no longer have that reason.

“When you make the switch to the NBN the current copper network that your landline runs off will be switched off,” he explained.

“If you want to keep your landline you’ll need to move your services over to a VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) service, which means if there’s a blackout and your power goes out, you won’t be able to use your landline phone anyway.

“In that situation, however, your mobile phone should keep rolling along fine for emergency purposes.”

According to the comparison site there are signs it is time it could be time to hang the landline up for good, including if you don’t use it, you’re on the NBN or you have a reliable phone service.