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By 2040, landlines will probably be dead
Thu, 21st Feb 2019
FYI, this story is more than a year old

In just 21 years, the humble landline as we know it will probably be dead.

At least that what's Michael Speight and Denis Tyurkov believe – they operate utilities comparison websites Glimp and CompareBear. From those websites, they get an inside look into what Kiwis really want from their telco providers.

“Landlines are obsolete now,” declares Tyurkov. “Like all great technology, they revolutionised things and served their purpose for a long time, but now, there are better options.

Speight and Tyurkov say that in the last 12 months, 78% of users have wanted to switch plans that don't include a landline.

“Over the years, we've seen a decreasing number of people wanting landlines, and at this rate, we think there will be such little demand by 2040, that retailers will stop providing landlines as an option,” Tyurkov explains.

2040 may seem like a far-off death year, but it will take a while for usage to drop.

“The data we have suggests the drop is exponential and not linear. So it's not going to be a 10 percent drop in usage every 10 years; it's going to be much higher than that and forever increasing,” says Tyurkov.

“From what we can tell, landlines will be completely gone in New Zealand by 2040.

As for what's causing landlines' slow deaths? Smartphones, calling plans, and internet calling.

“Cheaper-than-ever smartphones, great plans with unlimited minutes, and the inconvenience of having multiple contact numbers: these are just a few of the reasons landlines are heading to their graves.”

“There's almost no reason to have a landline for domestic calls. Additionally, internet calling — which connects any two people in the world by video for free — has helped play a big part in killing landlines.

Tyurkov cites a 2017 study from Canstar Blue that found one in five New Zealanders no longer have a landline – instead they rely on their mobile phones.

The survey of 2,258 people also revealed that women (43%) were more likely to ditch the landline in favour of smart technology, rather than men (32%).

“New Zealand has always been switched on when it comes to communications. In the 1930's we had more telephones per capita than any other country bar the USA, so it makes sense that we're happy to embrace the latest round of technology,” commented Canstar Blue spokesperson Emma Quantrill in March 2017.

“Unsurprisingly it is our younger generation leading the revolution with around half of Gen Ys living landline free compared to just 10% of baby boomers.

The 2013 census also revealed that landline usage dropped from 91.6% in 2006 to 83.7% in 2013.