More people are using mobile phones instead of a landline. Spark said there has been a year-on-year decline of 15 to 20 percent in the number of landline calling minutes used. But there are advantages to landlines: free local calls; hearing aid compatibility; and a free answering machine.
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For those in areas of poor cell coverage, a landline is a must. These days it takes a pretty serious outage for a landline to stop working.
You can also choose a phone with larger buttons and easier to use interfaces. For example, a built-in answering machine can be simpler than a digital one provided by your telco. You also don’t need to update a landline’s software like you do with a mobile phone.
The ultra-fast broadband (UFB, aka fibre) roll-out means the clock is ticking. When you upgrade to UFB, you’ll need to decide what to do with your landline. To keep using your current phones after your fibre installation, you’ll need to get integrated wiring. This may cost more, but you’ll get to keep your phone number. Note this works over fibre, not the old copper lines, so your phone won’t work during a power cut.
Some monitored home alarm systems and medical alert devices require copper lines, so you need to check this before installation and either upgrade the alarm system to a fibre-enabled version or pay extra to keep the existing copper line connected. Generally, upgrading is your best option.
Or you could bite the bullet and ditch your phone line. Most mobile phone plans have increasingly large amounts of free minutes — a Spark $19 pre-pay plan has the same amount of free New Zealand-only minutes (100) as a $60 pay-monthly plan did in 2012. There’s also free video-calling programs, such as Skype.
Chances are that you already have a mobile phone, so paying for a landline on top of this is an expense you could probably lose. At the very least, you won’t get telemarketers bothering you during dinner.
We still test cordless phones for those who prefer to have a landline – there are 19 phones to compare.