Seriously, Get Rid of Your Landline
Do you still have a telephone that plugs into the wall of your house? As of June 2012, 34% of households in the U.S. have gone wireless only, according to the U.S. National Health Information Study. That percentage will only go up in the coming years — over 59% of 25- to 29-year-olds live in homes without landlines.
From a financial perspective, it’s hard to justify setting up a new landline if you already pay a cell phone bill every month. Depending on the package, a landline can cost between $180 and $480 every year. That can mean big savings if you already have a landline and want to get rid of it, too. (See also: Why I Like My Flip Phone)
The Ubiquity of Cell Phones
As a culture, we like cell phones. There are still some issues we’re working out — like how young is too young for a cell phone — but, in general, it’s not an unreasonable assumption that if you’re reading this article, you have a cell phone. In fact, CTIA reported in 2012 that there are more mobile subscriptions in the U.S. than there are people living in the country.
Why would you want to keep a landline if you are statistically likely to already have a cell phone in your hand? Since most people who want to reach you probably call your cell directly, your reasons might include concerns about safety.
What About Emergency Response?
Up until recently, one of the biggest issues was whether emergency responders could find someone calling from a cell phone. In the event that a person called 911, but was unable to give their location, a cell phone does not necessarily provide an address. However, newer cell phones incorporate E911 capability, which allows a service provider to give data about location to emergency responders.
What About Cell Phone Reliability?
There’s also a concern that cell phones may be less reliable than landlines.
In general, reliability has increased since cell phones were first introduced, although there are still some places where you just won’t get great reception. In emergencies, it’s often possible that either, or even both, wired or wireless phone service will be disrupted, so choosing between the two is a bit of a wash.
There are some systems that may seem to require a phone line, like fax machines and alarm systems. But just about every system has a wireless alternative these days. It may take a little research to find options, but saving a few hundred dollars each year is worth it.
Is There Any Reason to Keep Your Landline?
For some people keeping a landline may still make sense. The most obvious reason is if you don’t have a cell phone already. If you’ve managed to make it this long without a cell phone, by all means, stick to what’s working for you!
Some locations are still not very cell phone friendly. Because of the realities of geography and location of cell towers, there are still some places that are effectively dead zones for cell connections. If your home is in once such place, you’ll need to have a landline or another alternative, such as Skype or other VOIP services.
There are also some very specific situations that still require a landline; for instance, people with pacemakers must have access to a landline for monitoring purposes (using a specialized interface, doctors can monitor pacemakers over the phone).
If you’re not comfortable with not having a landline for any reason and the cost isn’t an issue, make the decision that you’re comfortable with. But if you don’t need a landline and no special situations apply, it’s worth considering getting rid of yours.
Have you dropped your landline telephone service? If not, why not?