April 25th marks National Telephone Day - 138 years since Alexander Graham Bell uttered the very first words into his electric speech machine. Perhaps if he had known how it would take off, he would have chosen something more profound than: "Mr Watson, come here, I want to see you."
That aside, the invention of the telephone was a significant communications landmark and subsequent adoption was stellar. However, in more recent times, the traditional landline has taken a bit of a knock.
During the noughties the cost of mobile calls gradually decreased, causing a spike in mobile take-up and a drop in fixed line adoption. In 2006 mobile take-up in the UK passed that of fixed line for the first time and the number of calls made from landlines has reduced from 88 billion per year in 2003 to 60 billion per year in 2012.
That said, people haven't got rid of their landline services altogether. The proportion of UK households with both fixed and mobile telephony has remained steady at 79 percent for the last three years. All this suggests that UK households are retaining their landline, perhaps to facilitate broadband services, but using their landline to make calls less and less.
While mobiles offer convenience - I certainly couldn't do without mine - there's still a time and a place for the traditional landline. If you're in doubt, here are five good reasons why you should think twice before ditching your handset altogether.
1. Landlines aren't what they used to be. Today's digital cordless phones are stylish and easy to use, often ergonomic with a smart graphical user interface. They are designed to work with your smartphone rather than in competition with it. For example, it's now possible to connect your smartphone to your landline, enabling you to dial and answer landline calls through your smartphone using your smartphone address book. These technologies are complementary.
2. Pressing your face up against a window to make a call is not acceptable. Despite statistics claiming 99.1 percent of UK premises have 3G mobile coverage from at least one operator, mobile reception is still patchy, even in central London. Digital cordless phones offer the freedom of a mobile within the home but with more reliable reception.
3. If you're working from home holding your mobile to your ear for hours on end potentially gets too hot to handle. This isn't a problem with fixed-line technology. Many models have handsets that stand up and base stations with decent speaker phones. They are more comfortable and reliable. See point 1.
4. 'Sending reinforcements' will never be confused with 'sending three and four pence'. OK, this example may have come from the days of radio relays but the same applies today. Mondegreens are not helpful and can land you in a whole load of trouble. Call quality across the fixed-line network is far superior to that of mobile. For calls that really matter, clarity is crucial.
5. And finally, if you don't have a landline, how will your parents ever get in touch? Or is that just me?