Your landline: Think twice before cutting the cord

Your landline: Think twice before cutting the cord

A while ago, my wife and I did what we do from time to time — ask if there's another cost-saving opportunity we've overlooked. I don't know about you, but the quest for fiscal prudence is generally at its highest in our household after some indulgent purchase. “Hey, look! We can compensate for this luxo-foobie by slashing costs here!” (Are we the only people who do this?)

The indulgence in question was an iPhone. My trooper wife had been braving modern civilization with a dumb phone. (Someone from the '80s would have called a slim, foldable phone which sends text messages anything but dumb, but that's a different subject.) It worked fine and was cheap, but, well, even it began to show signs of age. Cell phones not being fine wine, I decided to surprise her with an iPhone, to heck with the cost. She did not resist.

Soon, however, guilt replaced the excitement, prompting the aforementioned introspection.

It didn't take long to identify a monthly cost glaring obviously at us — the landline. It cost us around $80 a month, bundled with DSL. That's a thousand bucks a year. Hey, that's almost what we're paying for the smartphone.

Why Did We Still Need That Dinosaur?

The arguments for its extermination are compelling, and we listed them with gusto:

1. We already have a phone each. Why do we still need yet another one? Besides, the cellphones have such convenient speed dials set up. My Blackberry (no comments, please) takes but one button-push to dial any of my friends, and hers is almost as good (not quite, but almost). We never make calls from the landline anymore.

2. The phones we have are with us wherever we go. The landline only works when we're home.

3. Flexibility. When you get a call and there's noise in the room, which is not uncommon in football season, you simply get up, take the phone with you and move to the patio or some other quiet place.

4. The cellphones are already expensive. Actually, let's rephrase that:Smartphones are expensive. First, you pay more simply because it's a smartphone, and then you pay for the data access on top of that. Of course, they can do much more than a plain old telephone. But the point is that we're already paying so much for these gizmos, they have to, for all that money, be able to supplant the dinosaur. Right?

5. Why pay twice for Internet access? We had a DSL/landline setup, as well as a data plan for our smartphones. Cut both the DSL and landline and, presto, we're not really such indulgent wastrels any more!

6. The landline bill keeps rising. The Big Money monopolies and their Big Government buddies keep finding innovative ways to keep that “basic” phone bill escalating by adding all manner of taxes and obscurely named fees. As a result, the final bill on a “basic” landline is about double what the actual landline is supposed to cost.

7. Join the herd. Almost 40 percent of households do without landlines, relying only on cell phones. If they can do it, so can we. No, make that: soshould we.

8. And then, of course, thepiece de resistance: those infernal robocallers. Our “servants” in the District of Columbia saw it fit to exempt themselves from the “Do Not Call” list, so every two years they love bombarding us all with countless dinnertime telemarketing calls. That's in addition to 700 local charities bombarding us with calls to come and pick up any crap we'd like to put out for them. (Maybe that's a sign, but that's for another time.) We've been religious in renewing our Do Not Call listing, but we still get five or more unsolicited phone calls on the landline every day. On the other hand, calling cell phones is more expensive for those nasty people than dialing landlines. Why? Because by law cell phone numbers must be dialed manually, making automated calls to cell phones illegal. The difference is very noticeable.

When we got to that argument, we high-fived each other. That was it! The landline must go. We felt so much better … and immediately went out for dinner to celebrate our thriftiness. (One must never let brilliance of this magnitude go unrewarded. Coming up with unassailable reasons to eat dinner out is, as you can tell, a finely honed skill in these quarters.)

A few months later, the euphoria was gone, and the lovely dinner long forgotten, as dinners usually are. My good wife had become an Apple fangirl, complete with iPad.

But…

That was the good news. There was, unfortunately, some news not quite as good:

1. Standards. We discovered that we had different standards for Internet performance for home and elsewhere. When we're at a WiFi spot or on the road, we're tolerant if speeds are, shall we say, “side street.” But when we're home, we expect the Autobahn. Side street speed doesn't cut it at home.

Cell data technology is less than perfect. You can talk to a friend just fine from our house, but data transmission gets interrupted constantly. Several calls to Verizon resulted in different solutions, all of which went back to them after a week or so. They were very gracious in sending stuff and taking it back, but at the end of the day we were stuck with lousy Internet service.

2. Voice quality. We also discovered something we never realized before: The quality of a conversation is much, much better on a landline than a cell phone. In fact, we joke amongst ourselves that, if cell phones were all we had and someone came along with a new invention called a landline, that person would be hailed as a hero, win a Nobel prize and sell his company for several billion dollars in much the same way that television went from wireless to cable.

3. International. Being foreign-born, most of our family is in Europe and Africa. When they call us, it's free on the landline, but now we were paying for each (long) call. The calling plans for landlines are usually cheaper than what you can find for a cell phone — and with better quality.

4. Satellite. We use a satellite TV provider, and they charge us $5 a month more if we don't have a landline. Several hours of wrangling with numerous people of various ranks (including an insider friend) got us nowhere. I still don't understand why that's so, but it is. And that, of course, eats up some of the supposed savings.

Seeing it like that made me feel like a bozo for rushing into the Apple thing. Sigh.

OK, so now what?

I did what I first should have done when I was overcome by telemarketer hatred: I did some basic research. It turns out there are several other, quite important, reasons to think twice about cutting the landline cord.

5. You don't need to keep it charged.

6. When it rings, you always know where it is. You don't have to turn the place upside down to track down where you put it when you dropped the groceries on the counter, or went to the bathroom.

7. 911. There's a night-and-day difference in how 911 calls are handled. A landline call goes straight to the call center and they immediately know where you are. Help is on its way within seconds. Make a 911 call with a cell phone and it's a different story. A number of hoops suddenly appear, through which you have to jump before they'll even think of sending someone. And you have to spell out your address. Forget O.J. Simpson. If you're in a high-density area like a condo or apartment complex, they have no way to pinpoint your location with a cell phone.

So, if there's an intruder in your home, you can pick up a landline phone, call 911 and set it down. Maybe whisper “burglar” or something. But you don't need to alert the intruder as to your whereabouts or that the black-and-whites are on their way. Try doing that with a cell phone, and you end up spending several minutes trying to persuade someone (over a less than perfect connection) to please come and help and where to come, alerting the burglar where you are and what you're doing.

8. Kids. If kids need to make an emergency call, they know exactly where the landline phone is (every time). It's much faster and easier for them to call from a landline than a cell phone: pick it up, dial the number, done. With a cell phone, they first have to find out where it is, then push several buttons and follow prompts before they even enter the number. Oh, and once the number is dialed, there's yet another button to click to Send.

9. General emergencies. In a general emergency, the cellular system gets clogged much quicker than the landline system, so your chances of getting through on a landline are (while not perfect) much better.

The Upshot

One of the benefits of dealing with Big Companies is the person you call to eat humble pie and ask to take you back is not the person you spoke to you when you told them (politely of course) to pound sand a few months ago.

We now have the DSL/landline back in operation. Internet speed at home is, while perhaps not the Autobahn, at least urban freeway.

And, because some of us got spoiled with the luxury of a smartphone, we have no choice but to accept that our spending has gone up. OK, stick a fork in me.

Of course, if the guilt and shame become too much to bear, we can always sell our home and look for one1,000 square feet or less…

What do you think? Can you make it work without a landline?

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Mrs. PoP
Mrs. PoP
6 years ago

Did you consider going with a company like Ting for your wife’s iPhone? We switched from Verizon to Ting with our iPhones and absolutely love how low our bill is (so far < $50 every month for 2 iPhones). That savings seems a lot easier than trying to get by without DSL at home, but then again we've never had a home phone and have no plans to.

mrs bkwrm
mrs bkwrm
6 years ago
Reply to  Mrs. PoP

We’ve got five smart phones (not iPhones) and pay under $100/mo including texting and data. We have wifi at home, aren’t big talkers and our kids (15-21) freakishly don’t use their phones for much besides calling/texting us for rides, but still. We’re paying less with Ting than we did with ATT with talk only and dumb phones.

We don’t use a landline for phone, but we’d cut a lot of other stuff before we’d consider dropping wifi.

TOM CSIHA
TOM CSIHA
4 years ago
Reply to  mrs bkwrm

We took another turn. Alsi we had landline bills of $80 or so. Wie have cute phone service but kept the internet connection and turned our old phone number to magic jack. It was a great idea.Magic jack cost us $ 35 for a year w/ unlimited calls within the US. We heve our answering machine working like ever before. If the magic jack landline is ringing we can pick it up with either of our 2 iPhones. And the quality of our MJ landline is much better then the wired connection was ever before. TOM

Tina in NJ
Tina in NJ
6 years ago

We have a landline, but it’s VOIP (voice over Internet Protocol). We were without power for almost exactly a week after Sandy hit. The battery backup from FiOS lasted about 5 hours. My son charged his iPhone in the car. I accidentally dialed my mother-in-law’s house phone and it worked! She still had an old phone company land line that had power independent of her house. The cell phone companies got portable cell towers up pretty quickly, but they went down just like the trees that took out the power lines.

Julian Morales
Julian Morales
6 years ago
Reply to  Tina in NJ

I switched my Verizon land line to Vonage – works great except when Internet provider (Comcast) has an outage (it is uncommon). Cut my bill in half. Do not know why the cost for 1 land line is over $70/month.

Frank Castle
Frank Castle
11 months ago
Reply to  Tina in NJ

I still have my landline…use infrequently. Only for business purposes as the audio is better.
My question is…can I just have my cell phone & CUT out cable completely ? I don’t use a laptop…I use my cell phone for everything…
I want to forego paying the 150.00 to 180.00 cable bill…&….pay ONLY my cell phone bill I have with SPRINT….

Brian @ Debt Discipline
Brian @ Debt Discipline
6 years ago

We need to land line as well for our home security system.

camille
camille
4 years ago

i had a magic jack but it was up for renewal and they want 100 dollars for 5 years. i bought a OBi100 VoIP Telephone Adapter and Voice Service Bridge from amazon for 38 bucks. it works with google talk and i use my cell phone number. i just plug the unit into my modem and the wireless phone jack into that the other part of the wireless phone jack i plug into my dish tv because if i dont have it pluged into a land line they will charge me 5 buck a month and wamo it works. so… Read more »

Elizabeth
Elizabeth
6 years ago

I have a landline because wireless is pricy here in Canada. I have a smart phone through work, so it doesn’t make sense for me to pay for a second one (especially since I hardly use the first…) A couple more advantages of a landline: – No one is going to rob you for it. There was a rash of iPhone thefts in my area last summer. Not just pickpocketing, but muggings. – You aren’t left without service if you lose or break your phone. (And landline phones are cheap to replace if you do.) – You don’t have to… Read more »

Yvonne
Yvonne
6 years ago
Reply to  Elizabeth

Further to Elizabeth’s comments, and from someone else in Canada: – I still have a landline. My cell phone is for my business only. My accountant told me that Revenue Canada likes when the cell phone, rather than the landline, is the company phone — easier to track, I guess. – I don’t need to be in contact with all my friends and family at any moment during the day. This has always been my biggest issue with cell phones and their users. – I find that cell phones, and their batteries, aren’t lasting as long as they used to.… Read more »

Marsha
Marsha
6 years ago

We cut our land-line about 5 years ago, and in the past year went to smart phones (android) for all four of us (our sons are in college). My husband’s phone is subsidized through his work, and we share the lowest-level data plan. There’s free wifi at work, on campus, and just about everywhere we go. We have cable internet at home (but no cable TV).

But the reality is that smart phones are going to be more expensive than dumb phones. We end up paying about $50 more a month than when we all had dumb phones.

Matt
Matt
6 years ago

I still have a landline, but it’s the VOIP-based Ooma. After the upfront cost, it’s only about $4/month. I’ve had it for nearly two years and it works great.

Sheryl
Sheryl
5 years ago
Reply to  Matt

I have Ooma. They support 911 service. Your address is automatically given to the operator. And your right, it only costs about $3-4/month.

kristan kennedy
kristan kennedy
4 years ago
Reply to  Sheryl

if i use OOMA and cancel my Century LINK landline, can I use their modem still?

Jane
Jane
6 years ago

I can’t stand talking on a mobile device for any significant amount of time, so I would never give up my landline. Right now we have our landline through the cable company, which means that we don’t get one of the big perks of a landline, namely access to it when the power is out. I have a dumb and cheap flip phone, which gets giggles from my friends with fancier phones. But it does the job for me, and it only costs $10 a month. I basically treat it as an emergency phone, which means that when people ask… Read more »

Jen From Boston
Jen From Boston
6 years ago
Reply to  Jane

I wish you would get an message “Text not sent” when you try to text a landline. Sometimes landlines get entered into the mobile field, especially if I’m quickly entering someone’s number.

G Jane
G Jane
6 years ago

Actually, I have been getting that recently! If I text a landline I will receive a text back that says ” is a landline #” and then it offers me the chance to send that text as a voice message for .25 a message.

(Of course the cell companies would wise up and let us know, if there’s money to be made!).

Rita
Rita
5 years ago
Reply to  G Jane

I still have a land line. I found this article while researching if we should still keep it. My husband and I both have pay as you go phones we have to top up with a minimum of $10 every 2 months. I generally still have $30 of unused minutes on my phone when I top up. I use it up when on vacation with my out of state family. My husband has an iPad which he got instead of a smart phone as we never use our cells and all the extra features he wanted on a smart phone… Read more »

Stefanie @ The Broke and Beautiful Life
Stefanie @ The Broke and Beautiful Life
6 years ago

I cut the landline. In the northeast, coverage is solid just about everywhere you go, especially around Manhattan. As for international calling, I stick to skype, google plus, and facetime. I have to be connected to internet to use them, but it’s been serving me well the six months my boyfriend has been in Europe.

Sean F.
Sean F.
6 years ago

I understand your concerns but honestly you still don’t need the land line. Ditch it and get 50 dollar cable internet (if available) and drop your phones on a plan like Ting or Wal-Mart’s smart talk.

I have virgin mobile and can attest that while not perfect you shouldn’t have any real issues.

Also almost no one under 30 that I know pays more than 50 a month for phone service

Hadrian
Hadrian
6 years ago

I’ve never had a landline – since I left home in 1998 at 19. I’ve always had a cell phone. The cost was never an issue – just like paying for local and long distance wasn’t an issue for my parents. I would not cut my ISP in the same way. I’ve never had DSL specifically because of the phone requirements. I’ve usually had some flavor of Cable or Fiber. I just don’t think LTE is ready for the load or can provide the speed of line-based connectivity. As for Voice Quality – VoLTE is coming and is going to… Read more »

Terry
Terry
6 years ago
Reply to  Hadrian

911 is really no longer a valid reason unless you live in a small/low population county. Larger counties have a central dispatch office that dispatches county authorities along with any town/city police where you live. This dispatch office is usually in the same building as the 911 operators. My wife and I keep the dispatch number on are phones and the one time we needed them, the police arrive in less then 2 minutes. Also, another plus is having the dispatch numbers of the county you live and/or work in makes reporting traffic accidents/suspect behavior easier/faster to call in then… Read more »

Bobbolaw
Bobbolaw
5 years ago
Reply to  Terry

For me, 911 is totally a valid reason. I have the cheapest vonage account for that.

Do people really bring their phone to bed with them every night and make sure it is on the nightstand?

Haven’t you ever said, “oh, where did I leave my phone?”

Matt
Matt
6 years ago

Just to add to #9, the POTS (plain-old telephone system) has its own power system, so in most cases it will work during a significant power outage. This is not the case for cellphones, or for VOIP solutions. That’s why I keep my good ol’ copper line.

stellamarina
stellamarina
6 years ago
Reply to  Matt

Our two cordless house phones will not work when the power is off as the base needs power, but we have a cheap princess phone with a a cord that we plug in straight to the phone jack when the power goes off. Have used it lots of times because our power goes off every few months.

Tonya
Tonya
6 years ago
Reply to  Matt

Our landline is run through our modem, so even if we did have the old-fashioned corded phone, it’d go out in a power outage. Bummer 🙁

Sheldan P.
Sheldan P.
5 years ago
Reply to  Tonya

In regards to your concern about losing VOIP\internet communications, all you’d have to do is plug a standard phone directly into the phone jack

Aldo R @ MDN
Aldo R @ MDN
6 years ago

I cut the land line at my house because we never used it and don’t have kids – I see your point about 911 calls – but we kept the landline at my mother’s house because she can make international calls a lot easier. We tried those internet services to call but they were a hassle if you wanted to call a land line or cellphone internationally – they work great computer to computer though.

I also just recently switched to Ting and I’m very happy with their service and I pay about $50 for two smart phones.

Becky @ RunFunDone
Becky @ RunFunDone
6 years ago

I have to admit, I think your argument for why a landline might be useful is…unconvincing. I’m from the generation where none of us have landlines. Actually, that’s not true. I have one friend (amongst hundreds) who has a landline. I think I’m missing something when I hear your concerns about the internet – our internet is super fast without having a landline. Your most convincing argument is related to emergency situations, but I still am not convinced that the cost is worth the potential benefit.

Justin
Justin
6 years ago

My wife and I haven’t had a home phone in 10 years. We got on an ATT unlimited Family plan (Voice, Data, TxT) and cut our home phone and reduced our cable/dish monthly subscription. I rarely have quality issues and actually have good service. We both have smart phones and buy new phones every two years. We buy new phones because we sell our old phone and pay about $50-100 for the new phone. I have gotten pretty good at finding a buyer so I rarely buy a phone for more than $50. The experience has been so good that… Read more »

Carol
Carol
6 years ago

We are keeping ours for #2, #6, and #8.

B
B
6 years ago

This is such an #oldpeopleproblem. I’ve never had a landline and I never will. No one of my generation (35 & under) that I’ve ever met has one or has ever had one as an adult living on their own. I don’t think I’m missing out on anything significant. The only two concerns you mention that are legitimate are 911 and kids, but even those aren’t insurmountable. The 911 thing is a minor issue, because you can still make 911 calls on a cell phone with basically no problem in the overwhelming majority of cases. GPS locating is good and… Read more »

El Nerdo
El Nerdo
6 years ago
Reply to  B

All that is good advice except for #rude #ageist.

B
B
6 years ago
Reply to  El Nerdo

So you think the percentage of people under 35 who have landlines is roughly the same as the percentage of people over 35 that have landlines? That’s factually false. To what else would you attribute this difference besides the fact that older generations are accustomed to landlines, viewing them as convenient and useful because they were for many years? Surely early life introduction to cell phones plays an enormous role in millenials’ lack of use of landlines.

Hmphh
Hmphh
6 years ago
Reply to  B

I think what El Nerdo was referencing as rude and agist was your use of #oldpeopleproblem in your introduction.

Kendra
Kendra
6 years ago
Reply to  B

My husband and I both fit within your age demographic and we have a land line. Our only reason is for our kids. They occasionally spend short periods of time home alone and the ability to use the phone in case of an emergency outweighs the cost ($20 per month). My son does have a cell phone, but about half the time he can’t find it or the battery is dead. Surely you realize how irresponsible kids are with keeping up with their things.

Jennifer
Jennifer
6 years ago
Reply to  B

That’s all right dear. Those of us over 40 don’t mind the ageism at all. We just smile to ourselves, secure in the knowledge that one day you too will be considered ‘old people’ well before you feel it, and younger generations will laugh and roll their eyes at you. Except you might not notice because you’ll be too busy fiddling away with your iphone-34. The chickens always come home to roost.

Andrew
Andrew
6 years ago

My wife and I have gone without a land line for 9 years now. There may be a few downsides but you get used to anything quickly enough. As mentioned by other commenters, many land line users have cordless phones, so the issues of mobility and charging are then moot.

We have always paid for DSL Internet during that time, even though we’ve both had smartphones (with data) for a couple of years now.

Jen From Boston
Jen From Boston
6 years ago

I’m GenX, and I still have a landline. I’ve considered dropping it, but I feel more secure having it for 911 calls and storms. I have one old-fashioned non-cordless phone, and having that means I can still call someone if my power goes out for several days. Also, I don’t want my phone service to be provided by the cable company. If the cable went out, then that would take down both my internet and my phone. Keeping my landline with Verizon and my internet with Comcast (as unseemly as that is – ick) gives me some redundancy in a… Read more »

El Nerdo
El Nerdo
6 years ago

I can’t remember when I last had a landline, but I’ve had standalone DSL for most of the past decade–no phone required. First with Speakeasy. Then moved West and got it from a terrible company called Qwest… which was bought/changed its name to CenturyLink. Then again with Speakeasy (post Best Buy acquisition). Then got standalone internet from Comcast (no TV) and it was faster/cheaper than DSL. Then I moved to the sticks and I can’t get any of that, but there are many standalone internet options.

Mrs PoP
Mrs PoP
6 years ago
Reply to  El Nerdo

Exactly. There’s no technological requirement that an active home phone line is necessary for DSL, though some salespeople will try and tell you otherwise. We have had DSL for years and never had a home phone. In the past, we had Verizon DSL years ago, but for now we are using a provider that has been absorbed by CenturyLink. Neither required an active home phone line for DSL.

Jennifer Roberts
Jennifer Roberts
6 years ago

I’m not sure what you mean by “landline”. I don’t consider VoIP to be the same as a landline, but it addresses almost all of the problems mentioned here. We’ve used Vonage for years and it costs a few cents to call family in England. For a while we even had a local phone number in England so it was free for them (it cost us a few bucks per month). 911 is taken care of. Call quality is fine. The only issue is that it doesn’t work in a power outage or if WiFi is on the fritz, but… Read more »

phantom
phantom
6 years ago

I like to keep my cell phone charging next to my purse so that it’s always charged and I always have it when I leave the house. That often means I can’t even hear it if it rings when I’m home. To solve the problem before cutting the landline, we bought a set of wireless handsets that connect to our cell phones via bluetooth. So, now when I get a call on my cellphone, it rings through the house just like a landline, and if I want to call out, I can just pick up a phone and call. Sure,… Read more »

Sarah N
Sarah N
6 years ago

We haven’t had a land line since 2006. It feels a little weird now that we have a house rather than a small apartment and we’ve thought about getting one if we have kids for the central aspect of it and the emergency thing.

But then we’re also looking at bluetooth handsets that link to our mobile phone so we can have a phone by the bed while the mobile phone is still in my purse.

Jen Faiz
Jen Faiz
6 years ago

We have lived qute fine without a land line since 2008. Don’t miss the extra expense and all the calls that were “wrong number” calls! Our cell phones work quite nicely, thanks.
I

Elle
Elle
6 years ago

My mother cut her landline and it has been impossible. She’s forever either leaving her cell phone in the car, forgetting she put it on mute, or letting the battery run down. Thus she is more often than not hard to reach. I still have my landline. I prefer it. Though an extra cost, it’s something I’m not willing to do without. It gets better reception and I prefer to talk on it than on my cell. To me, the cell phone is the convenience—being able to have it on hand, being able to look up things on the internet… Read more »

PB
PB
6 years ago

We have been thinking about dropping our landline, but in a recent weather emergency, our cell phone provider dropped our access for a few hours (very politely) because they needed the bandwidth for people who were actually IN the emergency (west of us). That’s fine, but what if WE had had an emergency at the same time? Food for thought.

edge
edge
6 years ago
Reply to  PB

$30/month is a lot of money to pay for an emergency situation that may happen once every few years. And if it came to it, I’m sure I could find a neighbor’s phone to use.

(disclaimer: I still have a landline, but the comments here are making me think hard about getting rid of it).

Bob L
Bob L
6 years ago
Reply to  edge

Our landline went up in the last year by $10 to over $30. This was the cheapest offering by our phone company. I called and found out they offer an un-advertised “Measured Service” which will drop the rate by more than $10. I have an MCI phone card for long distance and overseas calls that is dirt cheap. We need reliable 911 service due to my GF’s health problems and we have poor cell coverage. My GF is always leaving her phone somewhere, so we would end up having to have a house cell anyway just to find who’s house… Read more »

Diane C
Diane C
6 years ago

We have a landline for a reason that’s not on the list. My MIL lives with us. When she gets stressed, she calls her other son. His number is posted near the phone. Using a cell phone is simply too difficult for her.

When we moved into our new house, we discovered that our cell coverage is terrible, so that sealed our decision to add a land line.

Just curious, do any of these cheapo workaround cell providers use the AT&T network? Seems that most of them use Sprint, which simply doesn’t work on my street.

Diane C
Diane C
6 years ago
Reply to  Diane C

Whoops! Forgot to mention that MIL has Alzheimer’s. Just figuring out the cordless phone is challenge enough for her. I once found it neatly balanced in my two-hole stapler after she’d used it.

Bob L
Bob L
6 years ago
Reply to  Diane C

Tracfone has some that work on Verizon, you just have to ensure you are getting a CDMA phone rather than a GSM. They have everything from flip phones to smart phones. I have never paid more than $100/year for service

MM
MM
6 years ago

Wow–I am really in the minority here! Like Sarah N we dropped our landline in 2006 (which I feel was pretty early in the “trend”) and have not looked back since. We use our cable service as our internet provider with no troubles. We’ve actually watched our cable bill rise a bit over the past few years but have resisted switching to a dish/satellite provider for the “savings” because it would require us to reactivate a landline(!) and by the time that cost and fees were added we’d really eliminated any savings we’d get from switching over. All in all,… Read more »

imelda
imelda
6 years ago

Totally OT, but I hope this site responds to a recent article in the NYTimes, “Is College Worth it? Clearly.” http://www.nytimes.com/2014/05/27/upshot/is-college-worth-it-clearly-new-data-say.html?hp&_r=0

From the article:
“The true cost of a college degree is about negative $500,000. That’s right: Over the long run, not going to college will cost you about half a million dollars.”

This site has posted numerous articles encouraging young folks to consider whether college is necessary. I’m sure you’ll come back wtih a “everyone is different!” answer, but you might consider the statistics.

Carol Z
Carol Z
6 years ago

Having a slight hearing impairment a land line is a necessity. It was also terrific after Hurricane Sandy and yes, September 11.

Kiki
Kiki
6 years ago

I haven’t had a landline sinceHurricane Katrina in 2005 and I haven’t had any desire to have one again. I have internet at home through my cable company and it is fast. In fact, I am not sure why anyone has a landline!

Pam D.
Pam D.
4 years ago
Reply to  Kiki

To Kiki, Your remark… “In fact, I am not sure why anyone has a landline!” …leaves me rather perplexed at your assumptions as to why anyone would have any needs, wants, or reasons for a landline. If you read any of the comments above yours, there were plenty of “why” explanations, choices, and needs. Even though I don’t like how high my Verizon Freedom Essentials landline bill is, (over $65)I will not get rid of it. I have internet, cell phones, smartphones, but working from my home and making a lot of long distance calls, for me my landline (cordless… Read more »

uclalien
uclalien
6 years ago

911 emergencies are no reason to keep a landline. I’m surprise that so few people know that the FCC requires phone carriers to maintain a “soft dial tone” or “warm line” for 911 calls.

My suggestion is to get a phone that doesn’t need a power source in the case of a power outage.

Rachel Davis
Rachel Davis
6 years ago
Reply to  uclalien

I didn’t know that! Thanks!

Bob L
Bob L
6 years ago
Reply to  uclalien

Not true, there is no requirement. Some companies will keep the soft dial tone, some will keep it for a while after cancelling.

Hoping to Adopt
Hoping to Adopt
6 years ago

My parents live in a rural area. They only have one option for internet, and their cell phones barely get reception – you have to stand right next to the south-facing window to be able to have a phone conversation. My sister lives in a different rural area and has similar issues.

We live in a mid-sized community with good cable internet and cell phone service. I haven’t had a landline since 2002.

DivHut
DivHut
6 years ago

We “cut” our land line a while ago. Just switched to to VoIP solution from Ooma. We cut our land line bill from about $35 a month to about $4 a month for unlimited nationwide calling. I wrote about it:

http://divhut.com/2014/05/i-saved-372-on-my-home-phone/

Mave
Mave
6 years ago

Cutting the landline is a good idea and it may be too late to save your number, but think about this instead: 1. Get Cable or DSL internet (costs varies by region) 2. Get Ooma for Home Phone (aside from buying unit, cost is $4-5 a month in taxes) 3. Connect your satellite box to the internet modem ($5 fee goes away) This is my set-up at home and I am very happy with it. The saving won’t be as deep as you thought, but it should save you at least $30 a month. If you want to celebrate, think… Read more »

Aviva
Aviva
6 years ago

Wow, so you guys have corded phones in your house? Most of the advantages of having a landline that you mention involve a corded phone. But most of us who still have landlines (yes, I’m a dinosaur!) have cordless phones hooked up to our landlines. (I have one corded phone in a closet somewhere in case of a massive power outage, at which point cordless phones stop working.)

We stick to a landline primarily because cell reception in our house sucks.

liz
liz
5 years ago
Reply to  Aviva

Yup. Bought a corded phone after 9/11 and Katrina. Work as a doc, saw all of the problems that a week of no power and no generators could cause. Just want one to get ahold of my loved ones and call EMS if needed. $17 a month seems a small price to pay. Plus reminds me of my 80s childhood. Bought on ebay for 10 bucks, heavy enough to kill a burglar also.

Diane
Diane
6 years ago

I love my landline, I use it all the time and I can screen telemarketers very easily. I have a cell phone, but it is a phone, for making phone calls. It is not a camera or a laptop or a radio. I use it to make phone calls when I need to, and it can do the internet I simply choose to not do and do that when I am at home. I can also text. My landline costs $30 per month and my cell phone does not have a monthly cost, I think I spend about $20 every… Read more »

debs (@debtdebs)
debs (@debtdebs)
6 years ago

So many young people do it these days. We went to Ooma (internet based phone). Of course you need to have your high speed separately.

Aryn
Aryn
6 years ago

I live in earthquake country, and that is why I will always have a landline. I’ve been through several large earthquakes. The first thing I lose is power. No power=no internet, no VOIP, no ability to recharge my smartphone. Yes, I could use my car charger, but then I’m wasting precious gas. Also, cell towers have generators, but those generators may only last about 24 hours. In an extended disaster, those towers may lose power. In a major earthquake, they might even fall down! I have never had a landline fail in an earthquake. I keep a $10 corded phone… Read more »

edge
edge
6 years ago
Reply to  Aryn

How often are you getting serious (>1 day) power outages due to earthquakes? A landline is probably costing you well over $300/ year. You could buy dozens of spare cell phone batteries for that same amount. (Or hundreds of AA batteries for use in a cellphone charger, if your phone doesn’t support replacable batteries).

Pam D.
Pam D.
4 years ago
Reply to  edge

Edge, Here in certain parts of California, it happens more often than you think. Aryn explained about outages that affect cell phone towers, so having x amount of batteries does nada. Cell phones won’t work- period! We also have outages with cell phones on major holidays because of network congestion. I’ve had that happen no matter if I’m in a large city or small rural town here in Calif. where I live. Sometimes texting won’t work due to ?? whatever faulty glitz is going on. Never happens with my good ol’ landline. Yep, I pay over $750 a year for… Read more »

Ramblin' Ma'am
Ramblin' Ma'am
6 years ago

I’ve lived on my own since 2004 and have never had a landline. My mother and stepfather still have one, but they can’t make long distance calls from it, only receive them. I guess they save a lot of money that way without totally scrapping the landline.

Kingston
Kingston
6 years ago

VOIP home phone via VOIPo, was $185 prepaid for two years (so $8 per month). Cell service via Ting, using an iPhone 4s bought on Swappa for $160. I keep my data setting switched off at the Ting dashboard, but have wifi all over the place. My Ting bill is now about $20 per month + tax. I use a LOT of voice minutes, so this is much cheaper than Ting alone. I like Ting because I spend time in Canada and their Canada rate is reasonable, plus texts to/from Canada are free. So, I’m spending about $32 a month… Read more »

Morgan
Morgan
6 years ago

One thing about the kid/emergency factor for land lines. I have a 4 and 6 year old whom are both capable of using smart phones,even with mine having a passcode. I’d be willing to bet that most kids these days are no different. They use laptops and tablets at school, so they are accustomed the type of technology we have at home. Also, I don’t know about your area, but we have the ability to text 911. In the very highly UNLIKELY event that an intruder came in, we could text for help.

stellamarina
stellamarina
6 years ago

If you do not have a house phone, you need to make sure that your baby-sitter has a cell phone.

imelda
imelda
6 years ago

I encouraged my parents to get rid of their landline, and we all regret it. Not just because they’ve lost their old ‘212’ number, either…. The quality of cell phone conversations is infuriating. Particularly for people who may have trouble hearing. It’s just ridiculous how bad they can be. (I have found this with several different carriers – cutoffs in sound, dropped calls, etc.) They also don’t have an emergency line, in case the cell phones run out of battery, or in case they lose their phones. Both of which happen every so often. With two sick people in the… Read more »

DonB
DonB
6 years ago

For my smart phone (an ancient Droid 1 re-installed with CyanogenMod) I use Page Plus cellular. I admit I mostly don’t use data, and in fact I keep it turned off in general. I have wireless at home and work, where I need data most often.

deborah almaraz
deborah almaraz
6 years ago

I have noticed alot of people were worried about their landlines losing power, what about dropped calls on your cell phone and low battery. Nothing is perfect. But we have a land line but it is unplugged because of annoying robocalls. I have 3 lines on AT&T family plan 8 years now and they have sold my cell numbers and everyday we are being bombarded with robocalls. They said too bad no contract.

Quinn
Quinn
6 years ago

We haven’t had a landline in 10 years of marriage. We haven’t missed it AT ALL! We actively recommend family and friends spending the money on them to stop (as long as they have their cell phones). Granted, we also haven’t had (so we haven’t had to pay for) T.V. in that time either! We have internet to watch shows and we added a wi-fi router for our phones/laptops.

Eleanor Lebrecht
Eleanor Lebrecht
6 years ago

I am keeping my land line. Two of my grown kids do not have land lines, just cell phones. So their long lost friends call me to locate them. The biggest reason I am keeping my land line is that I do not like the reception on a cell phone. I also do not like having to hold a cell phone up to my face. It hurts my arm.And I limit my cell usage because maybe the microwaves are not good for the body. When I call a friend or my sister and we talk for a half hour or… Read more »

uclalien
uclalien
6 years ago

“I also do not like having to hold a cell phone up to my face. It hurts my arm.”

Just curious, what do you hold your landline with…your foot? 🙂

Even a relatively small landline phone is quite a bit bigger/heavier than your typical cell phone. And I would say that I’m either using a wired headset or speakerphone 90% of the time I use my cell phone.

Shari
Shari
6 years ago
Reply to  uclalien

I have noticed my arm hurts more when I use a cell phone. Part of it is that because the cell phone is smaller, I can’t just hold it between my ear and my shoulder (no hands) like I can with the land line phone. Also, my cell phone is heavier than my land line phone, and it gets really hot. One more thing, if I don’t hold it just right it tries to text people with my face when I’m talking. Or hangs up on them. Or puts them on speaker phone. For long conversations, I prefer the land… Read more »

Pam D.
Pam D.
4 years ago
Reply to  Shari

🙂 I agree Shari.

Pam D.
Pam D.
4 years ago
Reply to  Shari

Shari,
All of what you said how uncomfortable talking on a cell phone is, are the same complaints my friends have while I’m on my comfortable landline. 😉

Pam D.
Pam D.
4 years ago

Eleanor L, Right on. That’s exactly how I roll. I also have the Verizon Internet & phone bundle. It just went up to $92.00 per month- but I’ll do without something else if I have to, because I am not ditching my landline. The only need I have for using my cellphone is when I’m away from home. I use my tablets for the internet if I’m out of town- which isn’t that often. No way would I use my cellphone when I’ve gotten used to having a 24 in. pc monitor to view the web with. You made another… Read more »

Shelley
Shelley
6 years ago

We have been without a landline since 2006. My phone is paid for by my company so that is “free” to us. So we only pay for one mobile phone. My husband is with tmobile which seems to be the cheapest in Florida. I see no reason at all to pay for another phone. We recently cancelled our veriZon cable and so we pay 80 for internet which our phones piggyback on when we are home. Skype gives us free long distance teleconferencing worldwide and we now pay $7.99 a month for hulu which gives us most of what we… Read more »

Michael
Michael
6 years ago

Landline = Ooma – $4 / month

Cell Phone = Republic Wireless – $25 / Month – Unlimited Phone/Data/Texts – Android Phone

FOR THE WIN!!! < $30 / month total

Damon
Damon
6 years ago

911 calls are required by law to keep working even if you don’t have paid phone service. If you have dial tone, you can make a 911 call if needed.

Eleanor Lebrecht
Eleanor Lebrecht
6 years ago
Reply to  Damon

That is good to know. We have a lake house and I am going to plug a phone into the land line there and see if we have emergency service there. I have heard that old cell phones are good for that but never heard before that a land line has it! Thanks a lot!

Bob L
Bob L
6 years ago
Reply to  Damon

I have yet to find a reliable source supporting this. There are laws that require a soft dialtone to be kept for a short time after canceling service, but no law requiring this for long. Please provide a source supporting your statement.

Pamasilamo
Pamasilamo
5 years ago
Reply to  Damon

no dial tone or service required to call 911 on landline

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