The declining relevance of landline phones is no surprise. As mobile phone ownership continues to skyrocket, the need for a landline phone has all but disappeared.
It has been a speedy transition over the last 10 years. To illustrate this dramatic change, Statista has created a chart using data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Since 2004, the number of U.S. households with a working landline phone has plummeted from 92.7% to 58.1%. During the same period the number of households that rely on cellphones alone has risen to 39.4%.
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The long slow demise of landline telephones is accelerating. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS) reports in the Early Release of Estimates From the National Health Interview Survey, January–June 2012 that more than one of every three American households are now landline-free.
“Approximately 34.0% of all adults (about 80 million adults) lived in households with only wireless telephones; 40.6% of all children (approximately 30 million children) lived in households with only wireless telephones.”
The percentage of households that are wireless-only has been steadily increasing with a 1.8-percentage-point increase from the second 6 months of 2011 through the first 6 months of 2012.
Fifty-eight percent of renters and 76 percent of adults living with roommates reported having only cellphones. Ten percent of aged 65 and over reported living mobile-only.
Telecommunications providers are pushing customers toward wireless because of cost savings in no longer having to maintain aging infrastructure. The L.A. Times recently reported that AT&T customers are complaining of increased costs for basic landline service. In some cases, customers reported increases of up to 45% in just two years. With landline revenue dropping, there simply is no incentive for telecoms to make them attractive or affordable.
It is interesting to note however that recent disasters have reawakened the public to the general reliability of landlines versus wireless. As people discovered in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, wireless networks are not reliable when power grids or cell towers have been knocked out.
Tell us what you think about this trend in the comments.