Office phone ‘will be extinct by 2036’ predicts Ringover


office phone
Business communications group Ringover predicts that although the pandemic gave new life to traiditional office phones, they’ll be no more by the year 2036.

Data from Ofcom has shown that the number of business landlines in the UK has dropped by 44.1% from 10.2 million in 2009, to just 5.7 million in 2021, with the trend set to continue.

Businesses have been steadily switching over to online platforms and technologies in order to communicate with their customers, with the decrease in business phone lines being a huge signal towards a shift in platform usage from traditional phone lines to internet-driven communication.

Despite a renaissance in 2019/20 (from 5.28m to 6.17m in 2019 and 6.02m in 2020), the number of business landlines in the UK has continued to decline to near record lows, and if the trend continues, predictions show that we’ll see the last business landline in use in 2036.

Says Ringover CEO Renaud Chevret:

“The days of business phones being installed on every office desk will soon be a thing of the past. Having one number associated with a phone that cannot move doesn’t suit the modern worker.

“The growth we’ve seen has come from businesses that want a system that allows their employees to be in contact with others from one device with all the flexibility mobile technology provides. This is where internet-powered communication has really come into its own, and has caused the decline we’re seeing today.”

Over the past 12 years, the average number of business landlines has reduced by 374k per year. 

UK Landlines Remain Neutral Despite 60% Decrease in Usage

Despite the rapid decrease in business fixed lines across the UK, residential landlines have been holding their ground.

The number of residential landlines has continually increased, jumping from 24.99m in 2013 and up 1.5m to 26.48m in 2021. This has halted the overall decline of the fixed landline, but only stemming the tide as businesses quickly adapt to newer technologies as their preferred method of communication.

Despite fixed phone lines being in a state of flux between business and residential lines, there’s no debate in the way communication is shifting across the UK overall.

When looking at the Ofcom data totalling the number of minutes being used on fixed lines, the trend is clear.

The number of minutes each phone line across the UK makes on a monthly basis has decreased 60.7% since 2013, from 102.6 down to just 40.43 in 2021.

Mobile Data Usage Has Risen over 1,900% in 8 Years

Dropping call minutes and high prices are also being met with a massive increase in data demands for both residential and commercial customers.

For mobile phone customers across the UK (both personal and business), the amount of mobile data being consumed rose 1,964% between 2013 and the latest data figures in 2021.

Streaming demands and higher household usage will be part of the equation here, but the internet is and has quickly become the primary method of communication.

As people step away from picking up the home phone to make contact, the demands on the internet will continue to rise and communication will continue to migrate to online platforms, ranging from VoIP to online gaming and social media platforms.

Chris Price