Gen Z called, and it wants its landline back

Can Gen Z revive the humble landline telephone in time?

The Motorola Razr. The Blackberry. The iPhone — for each generation there was an iconic phone that was the pinnacle of cool.

adoption of landlines versus mobile phones over time

But is it possible that Gen Z’s phone of choice could be the humble landline?

While young people certainly aren’t tossing their smartphones into the sea, there has been a surging interest in the outdated tech, per The Guardian.

And that’s pretty ironic considering the landline has been slowly going extinct, according to data from The Washington Post:

  • Back in 2010, 63% had both wireless and landline phones.
  • By 2022, 73% of American adults lived in a home without a landline.
  • ~1% of adults in the US only use landlines. Adults 65 and older are the only group in which homes with landlines outpace those with wireless phones.

Responding to the steady downturn, major phone service companies are inching closer to nixing landlines — AT&T attempted to cut their service entirely in California.

Keeping the cord

Despite all that, some Gen Zers are buying old-school landlines as novelty items and, sometimes, as escapes from reality and the internet.

This isn’t the first time the generation has taken interest in retro tech: we’ve written about Gen Z’s penchant for Y2K nostalgia, from T9 texting and point-and-shoot cameras to Juicy Couture sweatsuits.

Since landlines aren’t the most practical choice, we have to assume this is a fleeting phase, and the corded dinosaurs will likely be relegated to antique store shelves.

But for now, we hope Gen Z gets a taste of stretching a landline cord all the way to their room to try to have a private conversation.

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