Practically everyone has a mobile phone in their pocket. There are more active mobile phones in Australia than there are people.
But there are still more than 10 million fixed-line telephone services in Australia, says a newly released ACMA report, with that number only dropping by a measly 1 percent last year.
Which makes us wonder why people still have fixed phone lines. There's been a boom in the use of Internet telephone calls, with around 3.8 million Australians using VoIP at home and 274,000 using it on their mobile phone. Along with this you’ve got texting, email, instant messaging, Facebook and plenty of other ways to stay in touch with family and friends. Several internet providers offer Naked DSL services, offering broadband access without dial tone, so why are so many of us still paying $30 per month for a phone line we probably don’t need?
One of the main reasons would be that Telstra, Australia’s largest ISP, doesn’t offer Naked DSL. It ran trials but decided not to launch a commercial offering. If you want DSL broadband from Telstra, you have to pay for dial tone whether you’ll use it or not. A home phone line is often factored into many Telstra bundles, so people just pay for it whether they need it or not.
Unfortunately even if you’re with another ISP you might be connected to a Telstra DSLAM, under a Telstra Wholesale agreement with your ISP. If this is the case, your telco probably can’t offer you Naked DSL and you’re stuck paying for dial tone - either to Telstra or to your ISP. The NBN rollout could see this change, as it will break Telstra’s stranglehold the country’s telecommunications infrastructure.
Are you still paying for a phone line? Would you ditch it given the chance?