Why Do Landline Phones Still Top The Christmas Polls?

!It'sForYou.jpg Armed with a PC, you can send emails, IMs or photos as well as make voice calls — but a new survey suggests that when it comes to that far-from-home chat or Christmas catchup, phones still top the polls. Why are we so reluctant to embrace new communications options? Of course, like most surveys, this one comes with a not-so-hidden agenda. VOIP service Skype sponsored the research on 1,000 Australian adults, so the intended message is clear: y'all ought to be using our software a bit more. But the results don't actually suggest that is happening at all. When asked which methods they would use to stay in touch over Christmas, by far the most popular choice was landline calling, chosen by 66%. Email was close behind with 65%, followed by sending cards (52%) mobile phone (46%), sending gifts (32%) instant messaging (29%) and social networking sites (15%). Making online voice or video calls came right at the bottom of the chart, ranking at 13%. Unsurprisingly, those numbers were much higher for younger survey participants (50% of them planned to use IM, for example). However, when it came to making online voice and video calls, the numbers didn't shift much at all. Skype's explanation for this relative lack of enthusiasm for a free option (during what's supposed to be a period of economic penury) is that Christmas is a time for tradition, and very few people have the tradition of sitting down in front of the computer to VOIP up Grandma. More fool them In my lifestyle as an excessive traveller, I find myself constantly using Skype to make phone calls, and that's entirely because I'm cheap. Between the high charges for mobile calls overseas and the high charges for hotel room calls everywhere, there's really no other sensible alternative to whacking some credit on Skype and using it for outbound calls. OK, hotel room broadband is often a rort as well, but I'm gonna have to pay for that anyway, so I might as well milk that a bit further. There's also more people I know on Skype than any other service, so I might as well benefit from the network effect of being able to make some of the calls for free. On Christmas day, that's going to be the prevailing logic where I am: call everyone I can in as cheap a way as possible, and email the people for whom time differences or other issues make it unfeasible. Not much different to any other day on the road, I suppose. Lifehacker Australia editor Angus Kidman still doesn't think Skype 4.0 makes a whole lot of sense. His Road Worrier column, looking at technology and organising tips for travellers, appears each week on Lifehacker.


Comments

    Are you kidding, Angus? Living Sydney's North Shore, I have 0 mobile signal in my house, Telstra and Optus only give out miserly amounts of data (I like my internet radio!) and the constant dropouts my friends with iiNet/TPG don't give me a lot of confidence in their service. No matter, because Skype refuses to recgonise my PCs microphone (MSN and others have no problem).

    So, why do I use my telephone? Because it works. For $0.15 I can make that local call, chat as long as I damn well please, without any concern of going over my cap or (more frequently) reconnecting several times because my signal drops, no drivers or other bits of BS (if I even hear the word "codec" again I'm going to scream) ...

    As for emailing XMas cards and such? Yuk. I place a high value on my friends, and there's nothing I like more than getting a card in the old fashioned post rather than an email or god forbid) an SMS.

    Unfortunately, I don't think I'll ever give up my landline. Getting my parents to ring my mobile long distance is unfair on them and they're not the type who like to sit at a computer when making phone calls. Having to introduce a Skype phone or similar into their house won't make them happy either!

    The landline will be with us for a long time yet...!

    I can think of a few reasons.
    Internet is shit through mobile devices (and expensive)
    Land lines just work.
    Old people eg. my parents have no idea what to do with the mouse or keyboard let alone skype.
    I embrace the technology but id still rather call someone from a land line then send an email or have a web chat. Its more personal
    and like the first guy said..
    The old fashioned way just seems to show that you care more. Not that im the type of person to send cards or call people. Im an asshole with no christmas spirit.

    Thank you for calling, i'll see you all in hell :)

    Favouring landlines persists despite landline phones isolating themselves from modern technology. For years, i have been looking for a landline phone with a user-friendly menu and with a way to download my phonebook from, for example, outlook. Instead the same clunky menu systems are on offer entailing at least a couple of hours scrutinising the manual for not much result. Why cannot I import a phone book to a phone as a comma-delimited file or similar? Instead, if I want to use fast-dialling, I must enter numbers and names at a snail's pace.

Join the discussion!

Trending Stories Right Now