The amount of time Britons spend making landline phone calls has halved in the last six years, as the mobile revolution makes the more traditional method of communication increasingly obsolete.
Research from the telecoms regulator Ofcom charts the rapid decline in the popularity of using fixed-line telephones to make calls, with the number of minutes plummeting from 103bn in 2012 to 54bn in 2017.
Over the same period the amount of time Britons have spent using mobile phones to make calls has grown from 132bn minutes to 148bn minutes.
“Some of us can remember a time when we stored phone numbers in our head, rather than our mobile,” said Liz Greenberg, the head of numbering at Ofcom. “But the way we use and feel about telephone numbers is changing.”
Ofcom’s research also found that mobile data use has rocketed by a factor of 10 – from 0.2GB per month per person to almost 2GB – between 2012 and 2017.
Part of this upward swing in data usage is driven by younger people who prefer to use apps such as WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger rather than making phone calls to friends and family. Research has found that a quarter of smartphone users never use them to make a voice call.
“Calling someone is a bit daunting,” said one 18-year-old respondent in a survey on phone habits conducted by Ofcom. “It’s much easier and quicker to WhatsApp my friends. If I have to call a company, I’ll always try to use webchat if it’s available.”