European mobile users ready to ditch landlines

One in five European cellular users say they’d consider getting rid of their landline phones in favor of their cell phones, according to a study released by Strategy Analytics on Thursday.

Already 19 per cent of homes in Western Europe exclusively use cellular phones, Strategy Analytics said.

High prices are holding back cellular users from relying solely on their mobiles. Two-thirds of the 1,000 cellular users who took part in the survey said that they’d use their mobile phones more often while at home if the calls cost the same as landline calls.

Prices are increasingly being blamed for holding back mobile usage, both within the home and elsewhere, in Europe. Some European operators are offering dramatic giveaways, such as free iPods and Xboxes, in exchange for long-term contracts, according to a report released in early January by Bena Roberts, an analyst at Current Analysis. She said operators would be better off simplifying their confusing pricing plans to attract customers and usage.

Offerings like British Telecommunication Ltd.’s Fusion could help encourage customers to use their cell phones in the home, although not over cellular networks. Fusion lets customers use a single phone to make calls outside of the home over cellular networks and inside the home via VOIP (voice over IP) and a Wi-Fi link to a broadband Internet connection. Strategy Analytics found that more than 60 per cent of heavy VOIP users who participated in the study said they’d use their mobile phones at home more if the phones could make VOIP calls. VOIP calls are typically far less expensive than mobile phone calls.

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