Internet access is now an essential, but the landline isn't anymore

We could not live without our mobile phones and texting, according to Ofcom's latest survey of consumer habits.
Written by Colin Barker, Contributor on

We may have a love-hate relationship with technology but the one thing for certain it seems is a belief that we cannot survive without it.

Ofcom survey of consumers' technology buying habits shows just how infatuated with technology we have become. Texting is one of the key functions of a mobile phone but just how important it is to you personally depends on different factors such as age.

Some 70 per cent of young people, aged between 16 and 24, consider being able to use their mobiles for texting as an essential. This falls to a mere six percent of over 75s while the UK average is 45 percent.

Internet access from a smartphone was deemed an essential by half of young people, a quarter of the general population, and no-one over 75. Internet access from a fixed connection was seen as essential by 40 percent of people.

Using the mobile phone for calls is the next most popular use with 60 per cent of the 16-24 age group and 17 per cent of the over 75s. The UK average is 46 percent.

If using a mobile to call and text are the habits of the young then a reliance on the old-fashioned landline is the purview of the elderly — 61 percent of the 75+ age group consider voice calls from a landline to be an essential but only 12 percent of the young.

With only 29 percent of the total seeing a landline as essential, the days of the landline are numbered. And only two percent of young people (and only nine percent of the 75+ age group) thought the phone book (remember them?) was an essential.

Happily for Ofcom, the majority of the people in the survey said they found communications services affordable. Only a minority (14 percent) said that have had difficulties paying for communications services, but three quarters (74 percent) said they had to be careful about spending while managing their communications costs.

Just under half (45 per cent) said that they have cut back on luxuries while around a third (36 per cent) said they opted for cheaper goods or services.

The full study can be viewed here.

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