Most people aged 60 and under now rarely use their home phone or don't even have one, according to a poll of over 20,000 users. research found that 51% of all age groups don't have a home phone or rarely use one.

However, it's a totally different story for the elderly, who often rely on a home phone.

While a physical line is a necessity for delivering broadband, many pay monthly line rental for a home phone service they don't use.

This is why is today calling on providers and the government to stop forcing consumers to pay for a landline when they order broadband. creator Martin Lewis says: "Many younger people mainly use their mobile. If the home phone rings, it's likely to be their parents or a PPI spammer. 

"For many people the landline is a dead duck, yet they're forced into it to have broadband – effectively a double charge.

"This seems a strange state of affairs for a country trying to lead in the information superhighway.

"While the advent of faster 4G mobile broadband may mitigate this somewhat for those with good connections, surely it's time people were allowed a broadband-only line and the ensuing discount."

Poll results

Our poll, which asked MoneySavers how often they used a home phone, revealed a whopping 80% of those under 30 don't have a home phone, or rarely use one.

However, over half of those aged 61+ say they use their home phone for most, if not all, their calls.

See our full poll results below:

Landline use
Frequency Under 30 30-60 61+
Don't have a home phone 27% 9% 5%
Never/rarely use a home phone 53% 45% 14%
Use home phone for 40% of calls or less 10% 14% 7%
Use home phone for roughly half of calls 4% 6% 5%
Use home phone for more than 60% of calls 3% 9% 13%
Use home phone for all/almost all calls 4% 17% 57%
Based on 20,608 polled on between 28 Aug and 3 Sep 2012.

Charities for the elderly however point out that a phone line is still a necessity for many.

Michelle Mitchell, charity director general of Age UK, says: "The landline remains an absolutely essential item for many older people.

"Although more people of all ages use mobile phones, landlines remain the second most popular consumer good amongst older people."

Do you need a landline?

There are a number of pros and cons for having a home phone landline, some of which we've outlined below. Consider your needs and weigh up the costs before deciding.

Landline pros:

  • Home phones are available everywhere, yet many areas are prone to poor mobile reception, particularly in the countryside.
  • You are more likely to get good call quality, whereas many mobile calls fail due to poor signals.
  • Many landline packages give you inclusive minutes to use to call other landlines.
  • Calls to 0800 numbers are free from landlines, but not from mobiles yet (see the 0800 numbers MSE News story), unless you have a smartphone and use a cost-cutting app such as 0800 Wizard.
  • Calls to 0870 numbers are not cheap from a landline – though some include them as free minutes – but they are notoriously more expensive when calling from a mobile.
  • Many home phone packages include free international calls to certain destinations.
  • Some broadband packages are cheaper if you also take a home phone line.

Landline cons:

  • Lack of convenience, ease and functionality.
  • It can be money down the drain if you don't make calls, given many now use a mobile for all calls.
  • Calls to mobiles can be expensive and generally aren't included in free call packages, whereas they are from mobiles.
  • It's harder than on a mobile to see who is calling, in case you want to avoid telemarketing or other calls.

How to cut landline costs

Unless you've a Virgin connection, you need a landline for broadband at home, so at least try to minimise the cost. Our Home Phones guide has all the details.

The cheapest line rental on the market currently is Primus' Line Rental Saver at £7.99 a month via the Homephonechoices website.

Though this doesn't include any calls, it should save you around £80 a year compared to BT's standard current line rental and a further £90 a year when prices are hiked in the new year. 

If you do need calls, Primus' Home Phone Saver, also via Homephonechoices, at £9.19 a month includes evening and weekend calls to landlines.

If you want to stick with BT, then the cheapest way is to pay it £129 for a year upfront for its Line Rental Saver which will cut £50 a year off its full price standard line rental.  

Unless you've cable or live in Hull, all lines are BT lines regardless of whether you're billed by Primus, Sky or others. So switching isn't an issue, unless you're with a provider only offering broadband as part of a phone bundle (eg Sky, TalkTalk) or you've a linked burglar/personal alarm.

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