British phone users are ditching dialogue for data, according to a survey by Ofcom.

Its research shows that landline telephone use has halved, while mobile data use has increased tenfold in the past six years.

In 2012, the UK made 103 billion minutes of landline calls, but in 2017 that fell to just 54 billion.

Over the same period, mobile call minutes increased steadily from 132.1 billion to 148.6 billion, but the average person's monthly mobile data use has significantly increased, from 0.2 gigabytes to 1.9 gigabytes.

Image: Data use has jumped from an average 0.2 gigabytes to 1.9 gigabytes per month

Smartphones, broadband, social media and nuisance calls have all contributed to the demise of the landline.

The survey confirms that younger people prefer to use messaging services, such as WhatsApp and Snapchat, rather than use their phones to talk.

Basil Kronfli, a phone expert for website TechRadar, told Sky News: "It's becoming less and less important to have a physical presence for your phone.

"If you're a business it makes sense, it verifies you as a trusted business – but for the individual a smartphone can do everything a landline can and much much more."

Image: Many people now prefer to chat on a messaging app than make a call
Image: Older people may be familiar with area codes, but the younger generation less so

Ofcom – the broadcasting and telecoms watchdog – also says the research shows an age divide through differing attitudes to landline dialling codes.

Many younger people are either unaware or don't care that the codes identify the geographic location of the caller.

Older people are more likely to recognise, and trust, the codes local to them.

Liz Greenberg, head of numbering at Ofcom, said: "Some of us can remember a time when we stored phone numbers in our head, rather than our mobile. But the way we use and feel about telephone numbers is changing.

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"In the future, as more calls are made over broadband, dialling codes won't need to be fixed to a particular part of the country. So the question is – could area codes become a thing of the past?"

Ofcom say they are investigating how landline numbers can be better managed, particularly for business use.

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