The (Not So Slow) March Away From Landlines

from the who-needs-'em? dept

Two different studies are showing that fewer and fewer people are relying on traditional landlines, as more people become comfortable using just mobile phones or VoIP phones instead. This isn't new or surprising -- it's just that the trend keeps moving forward. What isn't addressed in the article, however, is how much of this is due to younger users? Because kids today get used to using a mobile phone as their primary communications device as they go through high school and then college -- they have absolutely no reason to get an actual landline once they leave school. It almost seems like landlines are legacy issues at this point. Last time I moved, I realized I had no need for a landline any more, and it seems like many others will probably realize the same thing. While the telcos still try to force one on you if you want DSL, it's becoming increasingly difficult to come up with good reasons to have a real landline any more. Yes, there's still the "emergency" argument -- and landlines are more robust than either VoIP or mobile phones, but for a lot of people they think the chance of needing such reliability is so remote that it's not worth the regular fees for a phone service they'll rarely use.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

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    identicon
    Andrew Somerville, Oct 25th, 2005 @ 11:56am

    Landlines vs mobiles

    In the UK there is also another reason to have a landline - without a landline number you will find it pretty difficult to open a bank account or get various forms of credit.

     

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    Phil, Oct 25th, 2005 @ 12:22pm

    cut the cord

    Dumped our land lines 1 yr ago when we moved, we thought we'd give it a try. We found out we don't miss it a bit.

    Where we live, nearly every call we made was a local toll, going from Verizon to Ameritch territory. This made us keep a "package" that with taxes cost $45 a month.

    We now have US Cellular 1000 minute package, free incomming calls, and unlimited nights and weekends starting at 7pm and a share line. It runs us $74 a month. We typically use 600 min of outgoing calls M - F before 7pm, so the plan really works well for us.

    I like the fact that I never have to get up to get the phone, which I always wear, and I only have to answer the calls for me, which are very few. And lastly, I don't have to worry someone is leaving an important message for me at home, when I 'm out, and they don't bother to call my cell.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 25th, 2005 @ 12:26pm

    The nature of the landline is changing

    It's not that you don't need a landline anymore, it's that you don't need a dedicated line for telephone separate from your data line. Voice communication is becoming just another form of data traffic. Pretty soon the same thing will happen with TV (it's already happened for those of us you watch most of our TV off Bittorrent).

    There is still a market for companies to provide wired service to homes, but not for dedicated single-service hookups. If the phone companies can morph into application agnostic bandwidth suppliers, they will be fine. If they try to hang onto their previous market as voice communication providers, they will get squeezed out.

     

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    dorpus, Oct 25th, 2005 @ 12:39pm

    International Calls

    International calls remain prohibitively expensive on cell phones. VoIP requires coordination for the other person to be online. Land line is still the best method.


     

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      John, Oct 25th, 2005 @ 12:46pm

      Re: International Calls

      What kind of VoIP are you using that requires others to be online?!? I have Vonage and it works just like a phone line -- complete with cheap international call rates.

       

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        Anonymous Coward, Oct 25th, 2005 @ 1:23pm

        Re: International Calls (vonage)

        I'm considering going voip. Can anyone who uses it answer a question for me? Are their advertised prices real prices, or are they phone-company style advertised prices? i.e. If Vonage offers unlimited service for $24.99, is your monthly bill right around $24.99 (or does it have an additional $15 of surcharges, taxes, dial-tone fees, etc.)?

         

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          netman, Oct 25th, 2005 @ 1:29pm

          Re: International Calls (vonage)

          I think it ends up being about 28.00-29.00 after fees/surcharges but that's it. There's nothing hidden, etc. Just make sure you have a good broadband connection. I use Comcast as my provider and with the exception of a few bumps in startup, service has been exceptional. It has definitely improved over time. I've been with them almost two years.

           

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            Allen, Oct 25th, 2005 @ 1:54pm

            Re: International Calls (vonage)

            Cut my landline and went with Sunrocket (www.sunrocket.com) for my VOIP service. $199/yr or $24.95/mo., no hidden fees. Use 6468623177 as a referral and you'll get two Uniden expandandable cordless phones. Needless to say, I'm pleased that I did not have to buy a new phone (just moved) and I don't have to pay the $45-$50/mo for a POTS line.

             

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          Anonymous Coward, Oct 25th, 2005 @ 1:36pm

          Re: International Calls (vonage)

          I use packet8. packet8 rates are $19.95 per month. Surcharges are 3% for federal excise tax and $1.50 charge for regulatory recovery fee. As long as I don't make any international calls my bill is around $22. With international calls my bill usually is under $25.

          I've been using packet8 over a year now. No noticeable loss in quality. People can't tell I'm calling via voip. I'd recommend it to anyone.

           

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          William C Bonner, Oct 29th, 2005 @ 7:00am

          Re: International Calls (vonage)

          I don't have a traditional Land Line anymore. I've got my home phone on Vonage, witht he 500 minute plan, that is listed as $14.99. I usually pay $16.94. I rarely use more than 500 minutes outgoing, and I use my cell phone more than I use my home phone anyway.

          The concrete, steel, and energy efficient glass in my condo building make cell phone reception not so great, so having the VOIP line is nice. The fact that the VOIP has call management included is the real kicker. I can have voip calls transferred to my cell phone transparently to the caller.

           

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      lisa, Oct 25th, 2005 @ 12:52pm

      Re: International Calls

      Look at gorillamobile.com. Just call their 800 number then place your call. Japan 7 cents, UK 5 cents. I'm sure they've got plenty of competition, too.

       

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        dorpus, Oct 25th, 2005 @ 1:03pm

        Re: International Calls

        I'll look into it, though there have been reception issues with cell phones also -- with a cell phone, people can barely udnerstand what I'm saying, whereas with a land line, people can hear what I'm doing as I'm talking.

        Also, what if you need to make a call in which you will be placed on hold for a very long time? A cell phone will die before you get to an operator. E.g. ever try to call the INS to ask questions? Ohohoho....


         

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          netman, Oct 25th, 2005 @ 1:13pm

          Re: International Calls

          Bag the cell idea. Landlines are NOT the only method and you don't need a computer on the other end. Like the previous poster said...use a Vonage account. Regular phone, dial without any strange procedure. Just dial. Clarity is great. I call Germany all the time. No, I don't work for Vonage. I'm a very satisfied customer. Here's a link to their Int'l rates.

          http://www.vonage.com/intrates.php

           

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          Anonymous Coward, Oct 25th, 2005 @ 1:30pm

          No Subject Given

          People can barely understand what you say here, but that doesn't stop you...

           

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          Darryl, Oct 25th, 2005 @ 1:34pm

          Re: International Calls

          While I'm a big proponent of the landline for emergency/reliability reasons (especially now that I have an 18-mo son), I have to take issue for the "on hold" scenario dorpus brings up.
          What, you've never heard of an AC charger? They come with every cell phone I've ever had. Several even come with headsets and/or speakerphones. :-}

           

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          supra, Oct 25th, 2005 @ 2:23pm

          Re: International Calls

          reception is the last thing you have to worry about. unless u live in the middle of nowhere u will be fine

           

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            Schoggi, Oct 25th, 2005 @ 4:31pm

            Re: International Calls

            Middle of nowhere, or the middle of a "shadow" -- I have great reception on my deck, but none inside the house. My husband has to stand in a certain corner of his office to use his mobile phone. And we are in the middle of a city in the great flat Midwest.

             

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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 25th, 2005 @ 12:56pm

    Whats a landline?

    Went to college, got a cell phone, moved to NYC, never needed a land line

     

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    crystalattice, Oct 25th, 2005 @ 1:38pm

    Only have one because I'm required to.

    Being in the US Navy, every one of my command's has required me to have a landline. I believe it's because Navy people don't seem to answer their cell as often as their home phone. At least that's my experience when I'm required to call someone.

    I don't like paying extra for a home phone, especially when I usually get a better deal on a cell package (nights/weekends free, free cell-to-cell calls, free long distance).

     

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    thecpuguru, Oct 25th, 2005 @ 1:46pm

    IP/Voip wireless to merge

    In case you missed it they are all ready working on phones that will select the nearest/cheapest connection be it IP/voip or wireless. These "smartphones" will be the next big thing to start selling once they hit the market.

     

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    Ican'thearyounow, Oct 25th, 2005 @ 2:51pm

    Landlines

    The sad part of this is people are giving up a reliable service in favor of cell phones. I would say cell coverage is poor to non-existant in about 50% of my state, yet these people are gladly joining the "in" crowd, at least when they can find service. I will keep my land line until and I refuse to waste money on a cell phone until I see a large improvement in the service. The all digital is actually making things worse. Cell service sucks!

     

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      philip wright, Oct 25th, 2005 @ 3:41pm

      Re: Landlines

      Depends on where you live.

      In New Orleans, the cell phone service was back up before the land line service. The infrastructure is easier and cheaper for the obvious reason: no wires.

      Now in my house, the only reason I keep my land line is because Brinks home security (burglar alarm) uses it to automatically dial the security center in case of an intruder.

       

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    Lewis (profile), Oct 26th, 2005 @ 4:58am

    Emergency landline

    Don't forget that in many places, landline providers are required to provide a 911-only service for free to anyone who wants it.
    So the "paying $30/month for emergency insurance" argument just fell by the wayside.

     

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