Tipping Point? Quarter Of All Homes Have Totally Abandoned Landlines

from the watch-the-trends dept

The TV industry has been totally downplaying the idea that people would ever “cut the cord” when it comes to TV. While it may be true that it’s a very small minority of users today, it would seem that those in the TV industry might want to look over to their friends in the telco industry. They used to scoff at the idea of cord cutters as well… and now 25% of all households have dumped their landlines entirely. And, among younger folks, it’s getting increasingly difficult to find a landline at all. Things change. What was unthinkable not so long ago can become reality pretty quickly.

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Comments on “Tipping Point? Quarter Of All Homes Have Totally Abandoned Landlines”

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49 Comments
Tetsubo (profile) says:

I cut my phone landline around two years ago. The only people that called me were telemarketers, surveys, politicians and my Father. My Father could learn to use my cell number. It saves my wife and I around $500 a year.

I still have a cable TV line though. Because it saves me money. I have a cable modem. I called and told the cable company I wanted to cancel my cable TV contract. I just couldn’t afford it any longer. They told me that my cable modem would run me $59.95 per month alone. But if I kept my basic cable line it would be a total of $58.95 a month for both. So I get around 14 channels and save myself a $1 a month. I mostly watch the news.

Designerfx (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

what are you talking about?

The cost of the cable modem is like $9 a month if you don’t buy your own. Meanwhile, you can’t even get docsis 3 on a consumer cable modem for quite a while. About all you have now is the motorola.

Meanwhile, same deal here. It was cheaper to have basic cable than go without, sadly. It’s screwed up. Comcast doesn’t want cutters. I’d have done it by now if they didn’t manage to charge more when you don’t bundle.

longtimelurker says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

That’s a bummer, but not 100% true. Using Cox, I’m currently getting 30mb down, and I expect that to rise once DOCSIS 3.0 is rolled out. While I do have other issues with them, I have to say, outside of fiber I’ve seen the highest bandwidth through Cox than I’ve heard from anyone else in the US in particular. Hell, DSL from AT&T in this area maxes out at 6megs.

Michael Whitetail says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

I get about 35Mb down, and regularly get more when ‘spare’ bandwidth is availible in my area (Brighthouse Networks, Orlando FL) I’ve been getting a solid 3-4 MBps in STEAM downloads and have negligable lag in most xbox live games.

Looking at my bill, the only equipment charges I have are for my TV STB’s, the internet is a flat charge, no modem fees, no taxes.

I know that you can have your own modem on thier network, a buddy of mine does that, but his bill is the same as mine.

I guess the company your are with makes all the difference…

qhartman (profile) says:

My wife and I have been cellphone only for 13 years. A few years after making that switch I remember the extra hoops we had to go through when opening a bank account because the bank wouldn’t accept a cell phone as a contact number. Actually had logic in their account setup program that flagged cell numbers and refused to let them through. Ended up having to get a manager involved, put in a bogus phone number to setup the account and then immediately change it to the right number because the other software didn’t have that test in it. Crazy…

Anyway!

As I approach the possibility of becoming a Daddy, I’ve been wondering about how that will work if/when little Johnnie/Janie’s friends want to get a hold of them. Do current cell-only parents always act as proxies, or…? I can see the value in having a number that would reach anyone in the house. Seems like a good use for something like GrandCentral, or Whatever google is calling it now.

chris (profile) says:

Re: Re:

As I approach the possibility of becoming a Daddy, I’ve been wondering about how that will work if/when little Johnnie/Janie’s friends want to get a hold of them. Do current cell-only parents always act as proxies, or…?

i did this for like a week and got fed up real fast. i got a cheap VOIP service (500 min/month for something like $12 or so) and had everyone use that number. it was great for stupid things you need an extra phone for, like finding a lost cellphone when you are alone in the house.

it was a life saver when there was a family emergency and we were making making and we were on the phone way more than normal. my wife noticed we were close to going over our minutes so we used the ip phone and it worked out well.

vbt (profile) says:

I left landline’s behind 10-yrs ago. My dorm room in college had a connection but we didn’t have a phone for it. I recently moved into an area w/ fios and it was much cheaper to have a landline and get the “triple play” then purchase internet and television separately. So I’m in the same boat as Tetsubo in having service I don’t really need. I don’t even know the phone number for the line; my google voice number rings there and my cell. I pick up whichever is closer.

Information service providers will continue to lock services together to boost numbers even though some subscribers would much rather just have a good internet connection.

Charles H. (profile) says:

too cheap...

My wife and I would have cut the cord long ago but for the fact that she works for the cable company here and so we get everything (TV, internet and phone) dirt cheap. Even so, we would get rid of the phone if it were not for being able to make outgoing long-distance calls for free. I don’t think I’ve actually given that number to anyone in well over a year.

Jeff (profile) says:

There ought to be a LAW!

I can see the future now:

“Protect the helpless telcos! By not having a landline you are in violation of the LAW!!1! “

How long before the DMCA/ACTA is subverted to protect this vanishing business model as well???

Contact your friendly lobbyist for instructions!

Kidding aside – I haven’t had a landline for almost 5 years and couldn’t be happier.

ElijahBlue (profile) says:

The only reason I still have a landline is because I get a fantastic deal with my DSL, $22 a month, from an independent provider. This requires me to keep a dialtone with AT&T (formerly Pac Hell, formerly GTE) that costs about $15 a month with all the stupid taxes included.

You have to stand firm and refuse the sales pitch for enhanced products, but it is possible to have only a dialtone, meaning you have local calls and nothing else is available. There’s no long distance and no intra-lata, I think they call it, meaning phone calls made outside of the local free calling area.

This keeps the kids from accidentally calling a friend, thinking the call is local, until the phone bill comes (AT&T charges an outrageous 25 cents a MINUTE for these landline calls, basically from one city to the next. When I found out how much the calls cost (before anyone made a call), I asked the AT&T customer service rep ‘How is it possible that your company can charge that much, when I have a $10 throwaway prepaid cell phone from Virgin Mobile, kept as a backup for emergencies, and that costs only .10 cents a minute?’ She didn’t have an answer.

Other people I know keep dialtone-only service for their security alarms and satellite TV service, which requires a dumb landline phone connection to make daily updates to the set-top box. A friend of mine just moved into a new house and she didn’t bother giving anyone her new phone number, because her mobile phone is the way people have always called her.

It’s funny the way we’re all using this new technology, but we kept her cat and dog for two weeks while she was moving. Having photos of their pets text-messaged to them every day made the move less stressful on her family. This was the grand technology the old Bells were promising us for decades. (Remember the AT&T commercials with Tom Selleck, promising ‘One day you will.’) The old broads never delivered on any of those promises, but the mobile phone companies sure did. The landline phone stayed dumb, while the mobile phones just kept getting smarter, faster and easier to use. The landline providers have made themselves irrelevant by not innovating, changing and offering reasonable prices for their services.

DocMenach (profile) says:

Another would-be cord cutter

Same story for me as with quite a few other people. I have a land-line, but the only reason I do is because standalone internet service would be more expensive than the bundle. If there were real broadband competition (as opposed to the pseudo competition in my area with the only choices being the phone company or the cable company) then I probably would have cut the landline long ago.

Alan Gerow (profile) says:

Haven’t had a landline in 7 years. Usually people want to talk to me or my fiancé, not our house, so they call one of our cell phones.

Though Google Voice and VoIP solutions provide more than enough options should a need ever arise where we need a general purpose number or line.

The shocker is my finance’s father and my mother are both looking at ditching their landlines for cell & VoIP solutions, which says to me the trend is just starting to break out of the younger demographics and hit mainstream. The percentage of people without landlines will only grow faster.

Anonymous Coward says:

Cells are typically more expensive than landlines. Couples have 2 instead of 1, some families have them for their kids at age 8 on. Somehow I don’t think the communications industry is missing out on revenue.

If work didn’t pay for my smart-phone, I wouldn’t own a phone, period. I hate phones. Someone wants me they can find me.

Rick says:

Suggestion

My parents did not want to give up their land line, because thats the number they’ve had for decades. They both have cellphones tho, so I suggested they ‘add a line’ to their plan for $10 (about $16 with taxes/fees).

So, now instead of the $32/month they paid for their land line, they have a cell phone plugged into the wall in the kitchen for half the price. It’s handy for grandkids visiting, emergencies or they take it with them on vacation.

Another option is http://phonenumberbank.com/ where they’ll forward your old number for you for $10/month – saving the taxes/fees.

interval says:

Re: Re:

“Also, a land line is considerably more reliable in case of an emergency (power outage, planes crashing into buildings etc)”

Yeah, you’re right. All those phone calls from the various 9/11 victims must have been made on land-lines. They must have been allowed access to the plane’s phone booth before the hijackers crashed ’em into the towers.

Anonymous Coward says:

I have a bit of a strange prediction. At some point a land line will change around and be considered a luxury good that everyone has to have when they want a super quality connection from the comfort of their homes. I know I would like to have one because I remember how great it is from my childhood (have never had a land line as an adult)

Anonymous Coward says:

I actually like my landline. It costs about $30 a month as part of a bundle with DSL gets unlimited local and long distance and has much better voice quality than my cell.

Maybe I’ll get rid of it when cell phones stop sounding like a tin can, don’t cost a crazy amount for unlimited minutes, and don’t need charging every day.

another mike (profile) says:

they cut the hard line, neo!

Never even bothered to connect the phone line to the inside wiring. When I moved into this apartment, I had already dropped landline for cell-only. Since it’s a new building with structured wiring, I replaced the phone wall plates with ethernet wall plates and a gigabit switch. That connects to the firewall router which connects to the cable modem. I have cable internet without TV service. If FiOS were available here I’d probably have that instead.
Between Google Voice, Skype, Twitter, World of Warcraft, etc., I don’t use any of my 400 monthly cell phone minutes. And with Netflix, Hulu, and BitTorrent, I watch more TV now than when I actually owned a TV.
This is the future of communications right here. We’re stuck trying to muddle through while being saddled with extraneous services like TV channel lineups and cell phone minutes. The sooner these old monoliths get knocked over the better.

NAMELESS.ONE says:

@1

you have cable and pay money
more then my net costs
much more almost double or triple
and i get all my tv free
have for years think of the money ive saved
and ya know what
i burned saved and secured it all in triplicate so i cna forever enjoy it

i havent had a phone now for almost a year and ya know what i save money
i have no ctract
no early termination
wow what a revolution want to talk to me get your ass over here and knock on a door

jilocasin (profile) says:

I guess I'm a luditte....

I guess I still don’t see the point of a cell phone.

Too expensive, too limiting, too fragile. I’ll use one occasionally when I travel now that pay phones are hard to find and prepaid cards don’t reliably give you the number of minutes they advertise on the card.

When I can get a cell phone that you can drop/get damp without ruining it, that doesn’t cost hundreds of dollars, and gives you unlimited minutes for everyone in the house for

jilocasin (profile) says:

I guess I'm a luditte.... (continued again)

[Ugg… keeps self submitting this morning]

I guess I still don’t see the point of a cell phone.

Too expensive, too limiting, too fragile. I’ll use one occasionally when I travel now that pay phones are hard to find and prepaid cards don’t reliably give you the number of minutes they advertise on the card.

When I can get a cell phone that you can drop/get damp without ruining it, that doesn’t cost hundreds of dollars, and gives you unlimited minutes for everyone in the house for less than (putting an actual less than symbol in the comment truncates the post apparently) 50 dollars a month the let me know.

Until then it’s good old fashioned POTS for me.

nasch (profile) says:

Re: I guess I'm a luditte.... (continued again)

I guess I still don’t see the point of a cell phone.

Too expensive, too limiting, too fragile. I’ll use one occasionally when I travel now that pay phones are hard to find and prepaid cards don’t reliably give you the number of minutes they advertise on the card.

Obviously you see the point, you just said it: you can take it with and be sure to have a phone (too limiting? compared to what?). I think what you mean is that you don’t see sufficient value to justify the price. Which I would say depends on how much you use the phone. If not much, you can get a cell phone for 100 bucks a year. If you use it a lot, you’ll be cheaper with POTS.

Hephaestus (profile) says:

Think of the children ... save the baby bells ...

“They used to scoff at the idea of cord cutters as well… and now 25% of all households have dumped their landlines entirely. And, among younger folks, it’s getting increasingly difficult to find a landline at all. Things change. What was unthinkable not so long ago can become reality pretty quickly.”

They are off in theor numbers. The current numbers are.

26.5% of households had no land lines and are cell phone only.
of the remainder
32% have land lines that are used for less than 10 out going calls a month.
27% have land lines that are used less than 5 outgoing calls a month.
24% have landlines that are not used (less than 2 calls a month mainly used to locate the cell phone).

So we have approximately 30% of people who have cut the cord, but not gotten rid of the land line for various reason. Feeling of security, Emergency, not wanting to transfer the phone number to a cell, familiarity, old age, etc.

If you look at the historical charts for the last 10 years. Cell vs landline based on age its really informative. It is a leading indicator that is being mirrored by the people cutting the cable on TV. Based on the charts the cable cutters are currently ~3 years behind those who cut the phoneline.

Rebelious young people dont they know that this is felony inteference with a business model!!!

Michael Turk (profile) says:

You understand the difference between phone and TV, right?

[T]hose in the TV industry might want to look over to their friends in the telco industry. They used to scoff at the idea of cord cutters as well… and now 25% of all households have dumped their landlines entirely.

The trend in phones has always been toward smaller and more powerful. The trend in television has always been toward larger.

Yes, there will come a day when all TV is delivered is over broadband (wired or wireless), but the idea that we’ll all be happy to take it on our 2 inch cell phones or 8 inch iPads is ridiculous.

We’ll still want the 72 inch TV in the living room that our neighbors can see glowing through our very thin walls. As long as the market for high-value content on that device remains, there will always be a) protected content and b) a video industry. That will be the case regardless of delivery.

And just as AT&T and Verizon have moved toward wireless, but are still the biggest names in voice, I would suspect you’ll be seeing Comcast for quite a while.

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