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COVID-19 – ISP TalkTalk See 50% Increase in UK Landline Calls

Wednesday, May 20th, 2020 (9:50 am) - Score 2,218
talktalk uk broadband isp logo 2020

Budget broadband ISP TalkTalk has reported that calls made via landline phones in the UK on their service have increased by 50% during the COVID-19 (Coronavirus) lockdown as British people turned to more “traditional methods of communication” to stay in touch with family and friends (not to mention working from home).

Voice traffic over traditional fixed lines has been in a state of general decline for several years now, which has been largely driven by the rise in mobile phone use, VoIP (Skype etc.) and internet messaging services (e.g. WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger etc.). But the impact of forcing everybody to stay at home has changed all that, at least for a short period.

According to new data released today by TalkTalk, total minutes spent on landline calls grew by 49% year-on-year in March (total of 347,185,268 mins) and 51% year-on-year in April (total of 350,874,699 mins). Calls made from UK landlines to UK national and mobile numbers rose by 60% across March and April (total of 639,676,867 mins), whereas calls to international numbers increased by 7% in the same period (total of 58,383,110 mins).

Similar increases have also been reported by other ISPs with fixed line phone services.

Sian Doyle, Consumer Managing Director at TalkTalk, said:

“This data demonstrates the continuing importance of landlines to people all over the country. Calls between TalkTalk landline customers are free and with the [£12 a month] Unlimited UK Calls Boost our customers can continue to catch up with those most important to them, safe in the knowledge that their phone bill won’t be more expensive as a result.”

However we suspect this “renaissance” in traditional calling won’t last for long and will start to decline as the lockdown softens. One other reason for that is that many mobile plans now include unlimited calls for very little money, while similar tariffs on older fixed lines tend to be a fair bit more expensive.

Leave a Comment
5 Responses
  1. Avatar Phil says:

    I think the main reason will be reliability and call quality which is often lacking on a mobile phone. People working from home away from plentiful coverage they would have had in the office in towns and cities, or just missing the reliability and clarity a corded desktop phone provides, have reached for their landlines. Also with the rise in conference calling which often means dialling some non-geographical number, people feel safer calling those numbers from a landline as the cost from a mobile is often an unknown and historically been expensive and outside of inclusive minutes.

    It may also be a work life balance thing, with landlines little used these days, many people might feel more comfortable using their landline number for work calls than their own personal mobile phone and revealing their own mobile number to clients.

    I’ve used my landline phone simply for comfort. Mobile phones aren’t ergonomically designed for long phone calls with it held to the ear, so using a more traditional handset you have with a landline feels more familiar and “work like”.

    The article really is just saying what we all really know, in that mobile phones are really small computers first for media consumption, and the voice calling call part is incidental and built in for occasional use only. When people are working offices they use their desk phones, so when working from home, they will reach for something as similar as possible.

  2. Avatar Marjorie Bozkurt says:

    I am with Talktalk and for weeks I have been trying to get them to fix my phone, they said they would send an engineer on Monday the 18th any time between 8am and 1 o’clock at 9-45 received email said they fixed my phone I didn’t see an engineer and my phone is still not working, so as soon as I can get through to talktalk I am going to cancel, they really are rubbish.

  3. Avatar Trevor Hargraves says:

    For the last 2 months we have no landline talktalk are rubbish and will cancel our subscription ASAP you cannot speak to them only on chat line. It’s appalling

    1. Avatar Mark says:

      Why have you left two comments under different names? If you’re going to leave multiple comments to bash a company both complaining about the same thing, the least you can do is not post them TWO MINUTES apart! Kinda gives it away you know 😉

  4. Avatar Burble says:

    @Phil, you are right re call quality at least for us. Yesterday I looked at my glance screen to see a answerphone message had been left for my mobile, I am expecting a call which might need urgent attention so went outside, no luck, I then drove 5 miles to get a signal, I assume a transmitter had gone down after the missed call. today I’m back to the usual 1 bar if I prop the phone up in window.

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