US consumers cutting the cord in economic downturn

6 Jun 2008

Recession-hit consumers in the US are pulling the plug on their landlines to balance the books.

A recent IDC survey of more than 1,500 US households showed that the cost of having both a landline and a mobile phone was the main reason people gave up their landline service.

The number of customers without landlines has increased every year since 2004. From 2007 to 2008, the number of people who have never installed a landline more than doubled.

Currently 16pc of the US population does not have a landline. Cost-conscious younger consumers are more than twice as likely not to subscribe to both wireline and cellular service as older consumers.

“Wireline displacement by wireless will continue to increase due to growing comfort with cutting the cord, and the cost savings of giving up wireline,” said Irene Berlinsky, research analyst, Multiplay Services, IDC.

“It will accelerate in the near future as consumers tighten their belts to ride out the economic downturn.”

Customers who did not give up their landline cited cell phone reliability, service, reception and quality as top concerns. Other frequently mentioned reasons included that they required a landline for purchase of DSL service and/or satellite TV, that a landline was preferred for 911 calls, as well as the convenience of a landline ringing in multiple rooms and having one number in a family household where everyone can be reached.

By Niall Byrne