Is There Any Reason to Pay for a Landline Anymore?


If you're doing all that you can to save money and cutting costs every month, then it would usually make sense to cut your landline. When more than 40% of American households have eliminated their landline, it only makes sense, right? While it's often a good idea to cut a landline — particularly if you're no longer using it — there are certain instances where it actually makes sense to keep it.

1. Emergency Situations

Did you know that when you dial 911 from a landline, the dispatcher can see your address and phone number right away? According to the National Emergency Number Association, when you call from a cell phone, it can take about 25 seconds for the dispatcher to receive information on your location, which will be limited to a general area, not a specific location. In contrast, with a landline, the dispatcher will have immediate access to your exact address, including the apartment number.

In an emergency situation, you may not be in the position to provide your address. In some situations, a child may be able to place the call by being taught to dial 911, but they may not know the address. If this is the sole reason that you have a landline, call your service provider and ask if they have an "emergency only" option at a discounted rate.

2. Power Outages

In the event of a natural disaster or power outage, your landline may still work. If you are relying on your cell phone during an emergency situation, network congestion can make cell phone communication nearly impossible.

While a landline can be a godsend in an emergency, some phone providers are now running the phone lines through the modem, which would prevent you from having service in the event of a power outage. Some phones also need to be plugged in, and therefore still require electricity.

Contact your phone provider to see if they still use the old landline system, which would allow it to work during an emergency. Some phone service providers, such as Verizon, Cox, Comcast, and Time Warner also offer backup batteries for sale, which will offer about eight hours of standby time and four hours of talk time in the event of an electrical outage. These backup batteries typically cost anywhere from $20-$35.

3. If Your Reception Is Spotty

While most people are fortunate enough to have good cell reception, there are certain areas in the country where reception can be spotty. In these cases, a landline can ensure that you always have flawless call quality (and zero dropped calls). With a landline, you can enjoy undisrupted reception, anytime.

4. Home Security Systems and Fax Machines May Require Them

Some home security systems will require a home phone connection to monitor alarm sensors. If you don't have a landline, the alarm company may charge you to install a special device that works with your cellular connection. If you have a fax machine at home, you may also need a landline for it to work.

5. Making Long Distance Calls

Placing long-distance calls out of the country via cell phone can be unreliable. Making international calls on the landline usually offers a more reliable connection. It's also worth noting that the cost of making international phone calls is typically much higher with mobile phones than it is with landline phones.

6. Everyone Can Use the Landline

If your monthly service package already includes a landline, it only makes sense to have one plugged in. In the event that you have guests or other family members who need to use the phone, they can easily use the landline without costing you any money. You may also not be as willing to let them use your cell phone for whatever calls they need to make.

If you have a big family, you can save money by having a landline service and installing a landline in the room of each member of your household. This will save you money compared to a cell phone family plan. Landlines generally charge a flat rate every month, regardless of how much you use the phone. If you tend to talk on the phone a lot, you may exceed your cell phone limits and incur additional charges.

7. Misplacing Your Cell Phone

If you frequently misplace your smartphone around the house, then having a landline can provide you with a central location where you can always find the phone. In an emergency situation, this could be a lifesaver. Searching for your phone in an emergency can feel like an eternity.

If your child needs to make an emergency call, it will be easier for them to call from the landline, which is always in the same location. On the other hand, they may not be able to find your wayward cell phone when they need it most.

8. If Your Cell Phone Dies Frequently

We've all been in a situation where our cell phone dies at the most inopportune moment. Consider the very real possibility that your cell phone may not have the power to make an emergency call. With a landline, you never have to worry about your phone running out of juice.

9. It's Safer and More Comfortable

According to The World Health Organization and the Environmental Working Group, frequent cell phone usage can lead to an increased risk of brain tumors, brain cancer, diminished sperm count, sleep disturbances, and even anxiety. Using a cell phone for a prolonged period of time can also lead to earaches, but this hasn't been the case with landline phones. It should also be noted that holding a landline phone between your shoulder and ear during the length of a call will be much more comfortable than trying to hold a cell phone there.

10. It's Fashionable

Some landline phones can double as home decor. There are virtually limitless designs, colors, and styles to choose from, so you can find a new age, technologically advanced option, or you can visit your local vintage store for a phone that will also appear as a work of art.

11. There Are Better Service Bundles

In some cases, you can actually save money by having a landline. For instance, certain Internet, cable, and landline combo plans will save you money, compared to only buying Internet and cable. Look into "triple play" services, which usually include cable, Internet, and a landline at a low cost.

According to Consumer Reports, dropping the landline connection from your triple play bundle might only save you about $5 a month. In some cases, it can actually cause the price of your Internet and cable to go up, so you would be wasting money by canceling your landline.

12. You Can Save Money

Some landlines can cost as much as $50 per month, but you should be able to find ways to keep your bill to $20 or under with a standard home phone service. Depending on which service provider you use, you may already be grandfathered into an affordable service plan. Compared to the overwhelming costs of a smartphone plan, you can actually save money by making your calls through a landline.

Before cutting your landline, make sure you have considered all the pros and cons, and know exactly how much you will save every month by eliminating it. Instead of cutting it altogether, contact your service provider to inquire about how you can save on the monthly costs, and what the cheapest plan is.

Did you cut your landline? How is it working out for you? Please share your thoughts in the comments!

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Guest's picture
Kelli B

For most people, I don't think a landline is worth it. The big exception being if you are also paying for cable and internet. A lot of times, to score those bundling deals, you have to throw in phone.

Guest's picture

Landlines are far superior. If you REALLY want to save $$$, get rid of your stupid useless smartphone and use a landline. No reason to use a cell at home anyways

Guest's picture
Lyn Brooks

We ditched our landline a few years ago. We use Skype, and I pay extra to have a Skype number, which I use to dial out and call people that have cellphones or landlines but don't have Skype. Sometimes there is a bit of a delay, but most calls sound just like a regular telephone. I can call anywhere in the U.S. or Canada (they have other plans) and not pay any long distance charges this way. Altogether this costs us less than $100 a year. The main drawback for us has been that we have to direct dial the dispatch number, instead of dialing 911, in order to reach emergency services. I have the direct dial to dispatch saved in my Skype Contacts, so calling is as easy as a click of the mouse. My son recently moved back home, and will be working for a tech company that, ironically, requires him to have a landline as part of his employment. We will probably bundle that with our broadband internet in order to keep saving, and still rely on Skype for our calls. It's just easier and cheaper where I work on the computer.

Guest's picture

I got rid of my landline 10 years ago. It's only me so I don't need it. I much prefer the smartphone over a landline anyway. I get more texts and FB messages than phone calls and as an introvert, not actually talking to people makes me happier!

Guest's picture

This is great information. So many times I've considered we should get rid of our home landline, but we're not likely to for many of the reasons mentioned here. Plus, our phone number has been in our house since 1978. It's here to stay.

Thanks again. I will share this for others to consider.

Guest's picture

I don't give out my cell phone number except to close relatives, friends or business contacts.

When I must give a phone number, I give out my landline number. That way, all calls can be screened through my answering system and voice mail, and I'm not disturbed by sales calls, etc., on my cell phone.

Guest's picture

Medical devices.