Living Without A Landline

by Julie Rains on 21 March 2009 46 comments
Photo: mrbill

I had been thinking about shedding my landline for a while. I was attached to the convenience for a long time and, more recently, unlimited calls for one price in the United States. What I wanted most from a landline, though, was reliability; but, for me, neither the cable company nor the traditional bell company could deliver. So, after more than four decades, I cut the cord. Here’s how I’m getting along without a regular phone.  

Finding the cell phone. Being able to find my cell phone on demand has been my biggest challenge. The landline was useful for calling and locating my phone. My regular phone was always in the same location, attached to a wall in my kitchen, so I didn’t have to worry about finding it. Not being able to find my cell phone is especially troublesome if I am home alone. So, I make it a habit to make sure I always know where my phone is, and if I know my teenage son might be home for a while alone, I make sure his phone is turned on and easily accessible. This process may sound like a lot of trouble but at the rate that my real phone was out, I needed to do this anyway. (Apparently you can use Google's Click-to-Call feature to locate your phone though I haven't tried this yet). 

Giving out the home phone number. My cell phone number is my home number, period. Whenever I fill out forms that request my home number, I list my cell number, even if it means listing my cell number twice (once in the home phone section and then in the cell phone section). I remember hearing from someone who said that she didn’t get recorded announcements from her child's school because she didn’t have a landline; no worries, the school calls me on the cell phone/home phone. I have found this method more reliable than using my home phone, because the message goes directly to me. Before, my kids might answer the phone and by the time I reached the phone and started listening to the message, the call was nearly over. With my direct, rather than family line, I get the messages I need.

Getting numbers changed. The first two places that I notified about my new number was my kids’ schools; I wanted to make sure I was reachable for any urgent needs, which is one reason that I had the phone in the first place. I hadn't considered all the places that my home number was listed at first, but there are lots of them. Some changes I made online and some were made by notifying service providers of the change (places to update include the bank, dentist's office, and library). In regard to the phone directory, no change was needed as my home number has been unlisted for several years to avoid telemarketing calls, pre-dating the do-not-call registry.  

Keeping it charged. Before I switched to my cell phone full time, I used it so infrequently that I charged its battery just once every couple of weeks. When I started using it more regularly because I didn’t have the landline, such as making after-hours client calls that lasted an hour or so, I found that I needed to charge it more often. Now, I charge it after making a long call. I am planning on getting a solar charger just in case the power goes out (my neighborhood has underground utilities so losing power has happened just one or two times in the last 10 years; also, I live within walking distance of services).
 
Staying in touch. Most of my friends communicate on a day-to-day basis via email so changing my number wasn't a big deal: I just emailed and let them know to use my cell number. Maybe it's because we keep differing at-home hours and can contact each other at odd hours without disturbing dinner conversation or keeping someone from an important task but email has superseded phone contact.
 

Getting reliable service. Until recently, I had considered the traditional landline as the most reliable for phone service. I grew up using rotary dial phones in basic black; though analog wasn’t exciting, it never failed even when the power went out.

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After VoIP technology had been around awhile, I decided to try digital phone service from the cable company so that I could save on long distance calls, which I make frequently to my family and out-of-town clients. (Technically, the digital phone may not be considered a landline but my phone was connected to wires and not wireless.) There were often outages for no apparent reason; these interruptions didn’t seem to bother the cable company but they disturbed me. And when city workers accidentally cut the cable when they were repairing a drainage pipe in my front yard and I lost phone service for a couple of days, I started to rethink the redundancy of a landline and the reliability of the digital phone. After another misstep by the cable company (sending out a repair crew, unannounced, to make a repair to previously working phone that rendered the service unavailable), I decided to go back to the regular landline.
 
Or, rather, I tried to go back to the regular landline. I never received the phone service as requested. The initial installation didn’t happen as planned and the tech guy who asked me to call him never returned my calls (I called 3 times over the course of a week; apparently he was sick but didn’t transfer his calls to another service person). A trouble report provided to the service department was cleared without being resolved. The service failures continued with every communication, made via cell phone. I didn’t want to pay a premium price for such unresponsive service, so I cancelled it. 
 
One of my primary concerns about not having a landline was not being able to contact emergency services; however, the phone still has a dial tone and will allow me to call 911, and GPS capabilities in cell phones allow pinpointing of callers' location regardless of where the caller is at home or elsewhere. (For more on 9-1-1 services, see FCC website.)
 
Exploring Skype. Now that my cell usage has increased, I decided to explore more communication options that might offer even more convenience and cost savings. Though I’d heard of Skype, it sounded somewhat geeky for someone like me who was not even an expert on cell-phone features. But after hearing about it from an acquaintance who uses it to call her family in Poland, receiving a client call from Costa Rica via Skype (the reception was amazing), and following a discussion on the forums, I decided to check it out. I downloaded the interface and tested it for free, ordered a headset with microphone from Amazon using a gift card, and found it simple and intuitive to use. Instructions are in plain English, not bureaucratic mumbo-jumbo with misleading verbiage. You can make calls for free if both the caller and recipient have signed up; if not, you can buy credits or get a subscription ($2.95 per month for unlimited calls in the U.S. plus options for worldwide calling). If you want a fixed number and features such as voice mail, you can buy a number in the area code of your choice.
 
There are many ways to configure your own telecom plan, depending on your personal situation, work set-up, and lifestyle. If you’re at home a lot and your family lives nearby, you might opt for a traditional line and use a prepaid cell phone (see Linsey’s post on reasons she doesn't have a cell phone plan yet) or if you’re married and work at home, you could try one cell phone only and a two-way radio (Myscha explains how to use tech items to save time and money). But if you happen to have a cell phone set-up (prepaid plan or contract) that meets your needs, dispensing of a landline could save at least $25 every month and $50-80 per month for a business line.
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Guest's picture
Lindsay K.

I have been living without a landline all 3 years I've been in college. My parents finally got rid of theirs last year. I don't know what snafus they have run into, but if I'm pretty sure it's been easy for them, as it has been for me. We each have a cell phone on a single family plan, plus my Dad was given a cell to use in Canada on business trips by his company since he is there so often.

I will admit that finding the phone is definitely annoying at times! But as a cheap college student, it's not nearly annoying enough for me to pay a monthly fee for a landline :)

Guest's picture
Guest

My wife and I haven't had a land line in years. Never missed the thing. If anything it's been really nice. No more missed important calls because we weren't home. People don't have to try different numbers to get a hold of us. And I get a 30% discount on our cell phones through work. :^)

Guest's picture
Guest

Wife and I in our 6th year of laughing at people who still paid money for a land line so they could call their cell to find it.

Debbie Dragon's picture

I had al ways considered dropping the landline because in my area, the cheapest we can get it (with no bells and whistles or long distance) is about $40 per month.  I hesitated because I have two small children and I wanted to know I could always call 911 if something happened, and I was afraid a cell phone wouldn't be reliable enough.

When I moved to a new place at the start of this school year, I decided not to have the landline phone turned on.  I have a very affordable cell phone service that includes unlimited calling to all others using the same provider (and lucky for me, almost everyone I know uses them!) and even unlimited texting to any cell phone for the same monthly fee.  I have never once had a problem with reliability in the area I live in, or anyplace I've traveled to so far.  My service has always been able to find a signal.

Now I look back and wish I had made the transition a long time ago, and saved myself the unnecessary expense of the landline.

I have both Skype and MagicJack on my computer for making and receiving international calls - and while they're not quite as crystal clear as they advertise (all the time, anyway) I have found them to be very convenient, inexpensive and sometimes free, and "works-good-enough".

 

 

Guest's picture
Guest

With all due respect, this has been one of the more disappointing posts from this website. This post would've been revolutionary maybe 3-4 years ago but now? It just seems silly.

Julie Rains's picture

I am definitely a late adopter and I suspect that there are at least a  few others out there like me. So I hope someone found the humor and slight irony that someone  who grew up with one telecom company (Ma Bell) and a rotary dial phone is finally using Skype.

Guest's picture
Tomcat

On the contrary to the poster above, I found this post to be very informative. We still have and use our landline. Our cell phone doesn't work in our house - we have to go outside to use it.
We got rid of our long distance service years ago and use a calling card for that.
I think there are some people who wonder what would happen if they got rid of their landline and replaced it with their cell phone. I know I have.
Good information. Thanks Julie.

Guest's picture
Charise

I haven't had a landline in over 5 years. I've never missed it.

I may be remembering this incorrectly, but I believe I used my cell to call 911 approx 7 years ago and didn't have a problem. I just had to tell them where I was.

Myscha Theriault's picture

I know of several people who are still hanging on to land lines. We don't have one anymore but do have our cell, two-way radios and a Vonage line. But many folks are still hanging on to them for reasons of other options cutting out in a power outage or for emergency back up. Julie addressed that. Just because others have made the switch doesn't mean her reasons and timing are in appropriate. They are in fact very appropriate for her.

Guest's picture
Guest

We are still in the process of deciding whether or not to let our landline go. I found this information useful. In our area there are many people who do not have cell service in their communities and it is not even an option for them.

Guest's picture
Sunny

I'm hanging on to my landline. It only costs us $10 a month, bundled with my DSL. We live in the country and lose power frequently and cell phone signal at our house is poor.

Guest's picture
Guest

I've been sooooo tempted to get rid of the land line for the past year, since my Sister did it. She's been fine, and she gets a lot less annoying calls. (she used to get bill collector calls for her ex boyfriend!)

The only thing that stops us from saving that $55 a month, is worrying about "what if something like 9/11 happens?" Remember how tied up the cell phone service was? I know I couldn't make a call till I tried a few times, on my cell phone that day.
But the land lines worked fine. (at least mine, and everyone I called)

So that's a concern...but there's always a way, really...neighbors you can run to and quick use the phone, etc....AND I guess you can't spend $55 JUST because you worry, right?

If I can just convince my husband...we'd probably do it.
This article made it MORE tempting.
He always says if stuff gets bad with money for us, we'd have to get rid of our luxuries...well, I think the LAND LINE should definately go before cell phones! It's all backwards these days!

Guest's picture

I loved your post. I myself haven't cut the cord mostly because I have my internet through my phone company so I have the package deal. I have thought about exploring other options but I think I signed a contract for a year. By the way, glad you found skype! It is amazing isn't it?

Guest's picture
Guest

Oh....I actually just remembered the MAIN reason I don't bug my husband about getting rid of the land line....

Because don't they say that kids should NOT use cell phones?
Because they are NOT SURE yet, if cell phones are bad, especially for kids with growing brains?

So....if I get rid of the land line, they'll HAVE to use my cell phone. And they use the phone plenty, to talk to family and friends. (they are only ages 9 and 6, and it's just gonna get more and more!)

I'm HOPING that portable phones aren't as bad as cell phones, cause that's what we use at home.

I just don't want my kids having to use a cell phone all the time. When they do use mine, I make them put the call on speaker phone, and put it on the table or couch, so the signal is as far from their body as possible! (yeah, I'm probably one of those really bad worry wart moms!)

So...that's a MAIN reason we still have the land line.
My $55 a month will be way worth it, if they ever come out with a definate study that says cell phones ARE bad for you, and especially kids. (I try and use the land line if I know I'm gonna be on the phone long, too.)

Anyone think of this reason? Is it valid? Or am I fooling myself that cordless phones are any better than cell phones? I really don't know.

Guest's picture
Jaime

We didn't bother with a land line when we moved about 5 years ago, especially since all my calls went to my cell anyway. I was worried about not having it when we had a baby 2 years ago, but all we did was add an additional line to our family plan for $10/month, so we always have a spare for babysitters, low batteries, etc. As for reliability, I was online and receiving calls with my cellphone right through the worst of Hurricane Ike last year while the unused, above-ground land-line was blown off my house.

Guest's picture
Peter T

I wonder how large the percentage of people is who can't cancel their landline, because cell phone coverage is too bad in their home. Any guesses? We lived once in a house where there was only one corner where we could speak and understand clearly. We had a rocking chair in that corner as our place to call.

Guest's picture
CCL

I live in Houston and suffered through Hurricane Ike, too, and when we were out of power for 6 days, the only way I was able to communicate with my family outside Houston was through my landline.

I have an archaic, corded phone along with cordless phones, and my family has 4 cell phones. Guess which phone worked during the multi-day power outage? The oldest, least fancy phone. No one else I know still has one of these, and they couldn't communicate with people to let them know they were okay. I didn't use my cell phone all the time because it didn't always work (I have Sprint/Nextel; it could've been my service) and I wanted to preserve its battery.

I don't know about everyone else, but my hurricane experience convinced me that my landline is worth my expense.

Julie Rains's picture

I think safety issues are huge and should be considered. When there's been an emergency in my area, circuits on landlines have been busy, though that may change with greater cell phone adoption. My cell phone coverage at home has gone from okay to great in the last couple of years. The FCC has mandated that cell phones are to be GPS-capable so unless you have an older model, a charged cell phone should allow you to be located easily but apparently there are exceptions if you are near tall buildings, and of course in remote areas. I could go to a neighbor's house in an emergency but what if they all had the technology that wasn't working? I've definitely thought more about being prepared for emergencies when I made this move. I would love to see a basic phone rate just like a basic cable rate.

Guest's picture
J.

We had a medical emergency while staying at a friend's house while they weren't home -- they had no land line, and we didn't have a cell. I wound up running around the (strange) neighborhood looking for a payphone (there aren't many of those anymore!). It was just terrible.

Now I have a cell phone of my own, but do consider: do all of
your guests have cell phones? Including older relatives? Because you, and your cell phone, may not be in the house at every minute. It is truly unsafe to leave someone in the house without a working phone. Even if *you* never need the landline, a guest may. That's why I'm keeping mine. Also, *you* may be dilligent about charging your cell, but again, I've had guests whose cells went dead after long days of travel without charging. Something to think about.

Guest's picture
russ

Magicjack is the very best and least expensive voip service provider ever. I have it for 2 yrs now and could not be any happier. i get my fax and voice calls with it. Wonderful.

Guest's picture
Rich

There is a free website that will call your cell phone so you can find it.

It's called "Where's My Cell Phone?"

http://www.wheresmycellphone.com/

Guest's picture

Yeah, I only use my cell phone. There's no point in having a landline. Even if I did I'd prefer a computer phone and use skype. With skype it's like $7 for 3 months or something like that for unlimited local and united states phone calls.

Guest's picture
Guest

Sorry to be dense, but what if you connect to the internet through your phone company? Can you disconnect your phone service but keep the DSL? I would give up my landline in a minute, and port that long-time number over to my cell phone's family-talk plan if possible, especially if it would save some $$.....

Julie Rains's picture

My understanding is that you need a phone line to get DSL. You can check with your Internet provider/telephone company but I am guessing that even if you decided to get DSL as a standalone service rather than a bundled package (phone plus Internet), then you may not save a lot (which is why I estimated the landline savings at about $20).

There really are a lot of ways to get telecom and even though you can save on one part of the service (that is a regular phone for example) you may get end paying more for another part (Internet connectivity). Still, it might be worth it to look at different options. .  

Guest's picture
Jessica

After a few years of being cell-only, we added a land line. Why? Because we had a serious emergency last year and I couldn't find my cell phone fast enough. We don't use our cells that much (or landline, really) and dont' keep them on our body at all times, plus have them on vibrate, so we kept missing lots of calls and losing track of where the phone was.

Mainly we got the landline for peace of mind, and we had figured that eventually we would add it back once we had kids anyways. It was nice to save the money for a few years, but you do what you need to do.

I think some people keep their landlines for security reasons-like having an home security/emergency service. For those of you considering the cell-phone only option and who have a security system or are thinking of it, I found out that at least ADT offers a non-landline option using cell technology. Something to think about, for sure.

Guest's picture
Jessica

Oh yeah, and at least with our provider (Verizon) and at least a few others, it is possible to get DSL only- "naked DSL".

Guest's picture
Edie

I got MagicJack about 3 months ago. So far, I have few complaints. Sometimes calls on MagicJack just get dropped. Last week, I lost internet all together, but later found out that I would have lost landline service anyway because the whole main switch went bad.

I am glad, overall, I got MagicJack. But, we use mostly cell phones anyway. I manage to keep my cell phone bill to just under $100 per month.

MagicJack is currently running a special, for existing customers only, for a price of $59.95 for 5 years! Normally, it is $79.95 for 5 years.

Also, MagicJack, when you set it up, goes through a whole thing to get the 911 service setup for you. I also bought the MagicJack unit at BestBuy and I understand it is also available at RadioShack.

I have "naked DSL" through AT&T. I was spending $25 a month for DSL. Once I went "naked", my DSL went up $10 to $35 a month. My landline was costing me $25 a month, including taxes, so that is a savings of $15 per month, permanently.

Edie

Guest's picture
Guest

I have never owned a cell phone. People may want to consider what this man, Michael C. Ruppert, has to say:

SURVIVAL TIP -- For everyone who thought it was a good thing to get rid of your land line telephone and just use your cell, think again. The real serious hits are coming PDQ. Major telecoms (all of which trade on Wall Street) have been and will inevitably cut back on repairs. Suppliers will stop shipping parts, labor cut back, etc... you know the rest. Satellites will go down. Cell towers will have intermittent failures. And all those gadgets will be heading the way of the dinosaurs over the next five years. Landlines are an excellent way to have redundancy and also avoid the eavesdropping technology that is all over the place and legal. It still takes a warrant to tap a land line. When the cell towers go down, or satellites fail, if you have a land line you will become a VIP in your neighborhood.

Guest's picture

I use Skype at home which is great. It's not always crystal clear but it's good about 90% of the time. It only costs me $30 a year for unlimited local and long distance domestic. Plus I signed up for a skypein number which gives people a number to call my skype phone just like a land line. My parents love it for calling long distance to the Philippines

Guest's picture
J.

Another safety issue:

It's much easier to teach a young child to dial 911 on a landline phone than on a cell phone, if, for instance, the parent should fall or become ill. Also, the landline comes up on the 911 switchboard with the actual address, so if the child doesn't give a coherent address to the dispatcher, they'll still be able to send EMS. While the location of a cell phone can be tracked, I don't think this is done automatically by the 911 dispatcher. It could cost extra time in an emergency.

A cell phone can be a great safety device, but so can a landline. The landline is not yet obsolete!

Guest's picture
J.

Read this brief explanation of how cellular 911 works:

http://firstaid.about.com/od/callingforhelp/bb/cell911.htm

Your call is answered not by the regular 911 dispatcher, but by the cell phone's call center -- which could be in another country! They are then *supposed* to connect you to the appropriate service in your location. Let's just hope this process works better than most cell phone customer service. Personally, I find this idea really unnerving. I would like to see a comparison of response times for cellular versus land 911, as well as an analysis of how often cellular 911 calls are "lost", before entrusting the life of my family to this very new system.

Guest's picture
Guest

I used to have a Vonage account which was great. I have no complaints about the service or price. The reason I dropped it was my wireless provider has a "Talkspot" service. When I am in a WiFi zone, such as my house, my work, most of my friends and relatives houses, all of my local and nation wide calls are free. It does not use any "airtime" minutes from my plan. It costs a little more for the feature added to my existing plan, but my phone bill has dropped in half for the last 3 months using it. As for the 911 service, my phone is a blackberry 8900 which has GPS, so emergency people can find me anywhere. I only had cordless phones in my house with both my original land line and vonage, power outages would have made either of option useless in an emergency anyways. My only concern is keeping enough battery power on my phone all the time. I am currently looking for a hand crank charger for emergencies, and a spare battery. It is really nice to have only one phone number.

Guest's picture
deanes

We recently experienced the worst disaster ever in our state. A huge ice storm wiped out the entire communications and power infrastructure. Every power line was down including the large distribution lines. Our county had over 3000 poles broken. Every cell tower in 100 miles was without power after a few hours when the backup batteries went down. All available generators were sent to water pumps and medical facilities during the first 3 days. Within 24 hours the landlines were back up and some cell phones started coming back after about 3 days. The only way most has to charge a cell was with a vehicle charger. (Actually we ran some of our house off a generator from the motor home.) We finally got power after 12 days, but many people were out over 3 weeks. I'm keeping my land-line...

Guest's picture
Guest

We currently use Skype, have retained one of our formerly three landlines (two home businesses) and a cell phone.

We've long thought about ditching the last landline, and went over all the thoughts and rationales expressed in the article and the comments. Given that it costs us $40 month(down from the $70+ unlimited with taxes)for the basic land line (which includes $9 for Caller ID which is one of those things that makes all our lives much easier and more civilized), it is, in many ways, throwing away money. Or at least paying a hefty price tag for a "warranty" that should an emergency (9/11 size or minor but still problematic) arise, we'll have phone access.

However, our concerns are more about the stability/availability of electricity and cable as well as cells, with or without a major emergency. In any given week, cable can and does go out (so no Skype or other VOIP). Electricity, not so much...but when it goes, as it has, there's no way to recharge the cell phones or use our computers.

If we only relied on cell? Well, having to go out to the street at times (middle of nite, etc.) to get bars...not really convenient as we run a business and a family.

The other thing is small stuff. Believe it or not, there are tons of delivery and take out places that simply will NOT accept a cell phone number for delivery or pickup. (We live in NYC.) Sound unreal? Well, it is but it's true.

More significantly, are the issues of accessing accounts via phone. We've got hundreds or more that are linked to our landline (now both biz and home). It would take forever to change all of these plus there are issues when you do (identity verification, etc.) that make it soo time-consuming on our part, that given our hourly rate for business, we'd be LOSING money.

Finally, we seem to spend a lot of time on hold with customer service for both biz and personal matters. You can't imagine how many minutes you can kill on your cell. (And for whatever reason, when we use Skype, calls seem to get cut off when you're on hold for extensive periods of time, which is MOST customer service calls.)

We get a flat rate of 9Cents for each of those 800 calls on the landline, which makes them far less than the cell costs (again, we try to use Skype when we can).

And the emergency issue? We've got 60+ apartments in our building. I can't imagine waking up somebody or intruding to use their landline if our cell won't work. And seconds count in real emergencies, so I can't just rush out to the street to find a pay phone (if there are any left, I haven't seen one and I'm in Manhattan).

So, for good or bad, we've decided to pay the "ransom" (as I refer to it) to Verizon and keep a landline. If Verizon was truly customer oriented, they'd offer cell and landline packages (they once did, but no longer and I do not want their DSL, which is in the packages--We tried it once, it was the single worst experience of our lives and the most time-consuming and frustrating nightmare that messed up our business and personal lives for month. And FIOS? We don't have enough time in our lives for the problems with that.)

I hope that Skype becomes more reliable (it works consistently on our Vista machines but not, for some reason we've yet to discover, on our XP systems). And if Time Warner was also more reliable, we'd feel we'd really be OK to cut the cord on a landline.

Too many things out of our control that make it better to have the double redundancy.

Guest's picture
Guest

We've cut way back on the Land line phone, but keep it for several reasons. 1. DSL, 2. Unlisted anyway, 3. Getting the Phone book (still easier to use than the web phone listings), and 4. LOCAL 911 for most folks. By the by, a "trick" I learned from a paamedic. Program the direct dispatch line for the PD and Fire Dept. into your cell. It's a bit of a pain when your daily routine takes you through multiple jurisdictions, but that will put you in direct contact with the LOCAL 911 folks.

Guest's picture
Nathan

We've recently killed our Voip line to move to cell phones only. However, we ported the voip/home number to an additional cell phone for the house (at $10/mo.). This has let us make the transition immediately without having to take several months to get everyone switched over to our new home number.

We've also looked into the option of picking up the GE Cell Fusion cordless handset system. This comes with bluetooth. You come home and put your cell on the charger next to the GE base. Your phones pair with the base, and all calls are routed to the cordless handsets throughout the home. This also works for making calls.

In addition to all of this, we're fortunate enough to have a line through Google Voice (formerly GrandCentral), so we are updating our number in everyone's system to our GV number as the home line. We forward the new cell to the GV number, and it rings all our lines.

I really wish we'd made the transition sooner.

Guest's picture
M Kenyon

Yes.... I know it's archaic, but I still have companies (not my choice, but through work) that ask for a fax or mail... NOT e-mail.

What can you do for Fax?

Julie Rains's picture

Thanks Guest for mentioning your tip from the paramedic friend about programming local dispatch numbers into the cell phone. I have been following the technology relating to 911/E911 and there are federal mandates to deal with the tech set-ups of wireless users but local agencies are still in the process of integrating them so it makes sense to check with local providers as every community will be different, and constantly changing...though in general becoming better able to serve wireless customers.

I still have people who want to send or receive faxes, and have a fax machine at work. I have also used an office supply store for faxing (of course that eats into your savings associated with ditching the landline). I haven't used it but I noticed that Skype has a fax capability.

Guest's picture
Guest

Don't be too quick to assume that your GPS-enabled cell phone can help emergency personnel find you. It depends on your phone and the technology at your 911 center. They may only be able to narrow your call down to the general area where you are, not necessarily the specific address. You don't really want the paramedics going house to house to try to find you when you're in the throes of a medical emergency and can't speak or flag them down.

Guest's picture
tom

im in los angeles and from what i can remember... back in the 94 northridge earthquake, the only phone lines that worked were standard home phone lines. my cell did not work AT ALL.

im i crazy to think that a land line can be the only form of communication in case the big one hits?

Guest's picture

My wife was reluctant at first, but the landline is gone almost a year now-- no problem.

We too are considering Skype, but there is no rush . . .

Guest's picture

I've had a cell phone for 14 years, and Skype for 5 years. I still have my land line. The foremost reason is call quality is always good. Sorry, but I can usually tell when you are using Vonage or other VOIP services, and always tell when you are using a cell phone. With unlimited calling, including taxes, it comes to $44 month. If I cut the line and went totally cell phone, I would have to increase my plan usage for $40 / month. So I figure $4 month for superior voice quality and uptime is a reasonable price to pay.

Guest's picture
Guest

All you need is a product called Zoom 5900 then have your land line servives removed. By law all unactive land lines must still be able to reach 911. The zoom 5900 box will switch from skype to land line by pressing the # key. So basically all you have to do is press #911, and no phone land line bill is ever needed again.

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Natalie

I wholeheartedly support maintaining a landline for all residential homes. Unfortunately, it is a losing battle in Florida and the legislature is not on the side of consumers. I see it as a safety issue. Apparently, the legislature and governor view it as an issue to be decided by the telecommunications industry. For another take on this, visit http://www.tboblogs.com/index.php/thinkoutloud/comments/no-dial-tone/ and http://www.telecompetitor.com/att-stresses-need-for-wireline-home-phone/

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JTS_Houston

I fully understand about saving money and the desire to drop a landline in order to do so. But using only a cell phone is like putting all your eggs in one basket. I am a firm believer in redundancy. As another poster mentioned during Ike no cell phones were working well but our landline was doing just fine. We have lost power for hours and sometimes days. The landline still worked while the cell phones were jammed and you could not get through. The fact that landlines are on separate power source is the one reason I will keep my landline.

Jerry

Julie Rains's picture

Thanks for your comment. It's been about a year since we made this switch and we haven't had problems. My land line service was unreliable, unlike the cell service -- which may be the opposite for some.