4 Reasons to Keep Your Land Line

One of the most commonly suggested tips for stretching the budget is to get rid of your home phone, especially when looking to relocate.  Most everyone has a cell these days, just as many have Skype, and a few others are still using some kind of VOIP product like Magic Jack to bypass a traditional phone land line and make unlimited or, at least, really cheap calls.

To those who can make it work, I say “Kudos!”  But first, hear my caveat.  There are at least four VERY convincing reasons that you may want to keep that old-school telephone line:

911 Calls

While it is still possible to reach out to 911 operators with your cell phone, it may not be as quick or as accurate for the operator to tell where you are located based on the GPS alone.  A landline has several advantages over the cell phone in the following instances:

  • If you have small children in the home, who may not be able to relay their address accurately
  • If you are seriously injured, cannot speak, and need to have the emergency operators know your location from just your caller ID
  • If you live in an area where calls may be incorrectly attributed to the wrong cell tower (calls that come from towers across state lines, for example)
  • During a major disaster, when cell phone lines are jammed due to everyone using them at once

Land lines offer access to emergency responders in rural areas where the cell phone is less than reliable.  (Who wants a dropped call when you’re clutching on to life?)  While the scenario seems dramatic, for those with small children, fragile health conditions, or in an area with a poorly developed cellular infrastructure, the land line is still superior.

Note: See if your state currently offers direct access to 911 only for homes that don’t have active land line service.  At the time of this writing, California just changed theirs.

Telecommuting

The appeal of working from home is strong.  Moms with small kids or employees that have the ability to work independently from a remote office are both great candidates for doing most (if not all) of their regular work from a telecommuting arrangement.  If you don’t have a land line, however, you can just about forget this notion entirely.  Businesses want customer service reps and consultants who can provide crystal-clear calling quality to their internal and external customers – something that cell phones can’t always provide.  Just look at the job requirements for an at-home customer service job, and you’ll see what we mean.

Rural Living

I live ten minutes from town, in a community that boasts only 1,800 people in it.  3G just became available in my area, but prior to that, I couldn’t make or receive calls in my own home, any stores I regularly shop, or on the road between towns I frequent.  The purpose of having my phone was to be able to travel with a lifeline to my kids, but until recently, my cell sat unused anytime I was in my house.  In the case of my obviously underdeveloped rural area, the cell phone loses, hands down, for calls originating from the home.

Home Security

If you’ve looked into getting a home security system (one with an alarm AND instant communication to emergency responders), you already know the facts: most systems require a land line.  Of those that don’t (perhaps they rely on wireless internet communication), they highly recommend you have one, anyway.  Home break-ins are much more preventable with an additional layer of protection.

There is much money to be saved by cutting the phone line and switching to cell phone only.  Provided you can get on the right plan, avoid overages, and negotiate around the difficulties mentioned above, it may still be the right choice for some. 

What reasons do you have for keeping (or cutting) your traditional phone line?

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Comments

  1. says

    The major reason to cut the line is cost. In Ontario you are looking at about $50 a month to get unlimited calling in North America and a bunch of phone “features”. This amounts to $600 annually. Magicjack on the other hand is about $25 per year, another $10 for being Canadian and $20 more (one time cost) to port your old number. So $55 for year one and $35 each year thereafter. The savings are massive. Now, the internet does go down – that is the major issue I see.

  2. says

    We cut our land-line a few years ago and I can’t see us ever going back to having one. They are disappearing at a rapid rate according to Telus, BCE, and Rogers. The technology on cell phones is only going to get better to help alleviate the concerns you posted about.

    I have a hard time paying $40/month just in case the power goes out or there’s some type of emergency. Even old cell phones that aren’t on a plan anymore have access to 911. And what makes you think your land-line will be successful in making a call during a major disaster? As I recall during the Japan earthquake, people were reaching our via Twitter to let their loved ones know they were safe.

    And one last thing, I enjoy no longer receiving telemarketer calls and “prize-winning” scam calls throughout the day like we would get on our land-line.

    • herna says

      Can definitely see the cost concern as a compelling reason to cut the cord, however, when bundling services with a say a cable-provider, the phone can be as little as $4-10 more a month.

      With that dollar amount in mind, is it worth keeping “in case the power goes out or there’s some type of emergency”? –Both being very likely occurrences to take place at some point in someones lifetime.

  3. says

    I actually re-acquired my landline, because I need it for work. The handheld computer I use requires a phone line to send sales back to head office, thanks to a modem from about 1997.

    We’re getting a new system in a couple months, which I hope will be wi-fi enabled so I can punt by landline and the $32 a month I pay for it.

  4. Jambo411 says

    I do shiftwork and have to be able to be called if I sleep in (not often) or in case of emergencies (much more often). Added to numerous losses of power in our isolated area a landline is vital. Remember to have at least one old school phone somewhere in the house as these will still work with no power. Also the long distance costs are low. A majic jack will not work on our internet system with any reliabilty.

  5. Chris says

    I finally dumped my landline last november and am solely on Magic Jack now. The $10 canadian number fee seems to be a one-time registration fee. I just renewed my membership using the 5 year deal which costs $70. I even built a small low power PC (24 watts) to run the magic jack since it requires a computer to be on 24/7. It’s hard to me to make any case for re-acquiring my landline when the Magic Jack covers all local and long distance calls to Canada and the US.

  6. Douger says

    Another important reason for having a landline, that I am surprised is not listed in the article, is that it actually increases your credit score. Saying this, I did dump my landline around 2 years ago, simply because everyone I know calls me on my cell and the only landline calls that I received, were from telemarketers. I couldn’t justify the cost anymore.

  7. says

    I have been wanting to get rid of mine, but as you mentioned I have a home business. I find myself needing to give a phone number A LOT. I really don’t want my cell number floating around that much. And even though I rarely use it now, I just never know. Tomorrow my business may change and I may suddenly need to be on the phone a lot. I’m rural like you. The cell service just isn’t dependable enough for long conversations.

  8. John says

    I work in the oil industry and I bought my first cell phone in 1986. It came in an oversized briefcase and would only work either plugged into a truck or with a separate power source within a building. Despite being a great leap forward in technology over the general mobile radio’s in use at the time the one major problem with the system still exists today. The cellular system is inherently insecure. Back then we would drive to the nearest landline, usually a phone booth in the nearby town or a company office, to avoid oil scouts who would place themselves between our drilling rig and the closest cell tower to intercept our calls and faxes. Today we’ve replaced the drive to town with a sat phone but that still leaves us avoiding the cellular system when we are sending important information because it can be hacked. Anyone considering dropping their landline for the convenience of a cell phone might want to consider the potential loss of privacy as seen in recent court cases in England concerning the recording of cell conversations by newspaper reporters. Of course a land line can be tapped but that takes a physical effort and the person doing it opening themselves up to a lot of serious criminal charges. Listening into a cellular conversation broadcast over public airwaves is still a grey area.

  9. Rob B. says

    I’m up in the air about Landlines vs. Cell Phones. On one point my landline costs roughly $30 a month with twice the minutes long distance as my cell phone. My cell phone costs roughly $70 with everything unlimited minus the 500 daytime minutes. Am I getting more than twice the value with my cell phone? With more and more companies Tiering their bandwidth – in a two week period, my phone was able to use 2.6gb of data which is only on roughly 3-4 hours a day. All other times it’s off and I use a forwarding service, which when I asked my cell carrier – doesn’t use data.

  10. Bob says

    We keep our landline for a reason that hasn’t been mentioned so far. Security. A cell phone is really nothing more than a radio and as such, its frequency can be picked up by scanners. Whenever we are discussing financial information with a bank, retailer, mortgage company or making an online purchase, we use our landline. Think about it the next time you are giving your credit card number or social security number to someone over your cell phone. Who’s listening?

  11. Mary says

    Be aware that if the electricity goes off you need a corded phone . The cordless phones, even though they are land lines do not work.. We learned this after the hurricanes a few years ago.

  12. Karen says

    I kept my landline and dropped my cell phone. My landline is roughly $20 a month (since it comes with a bundled package with cable and internet) and my cell phone was $80 a month, minimum. I dropped my cell and bought a prepaid cell phone for $200 with 1000 minutes on it. So far it’s lasted me about nine months and I still have minutes on it. I don’t give the number out to too many people (most call me on my landline). That keeps the cell bill down.

    The reason I did this was 1) I have a small child/911 purposes and 2) my cell phone won’t work in my house (I step outside and I get plenty of bars, but inside it goes down to 1 or none). It happens to everyone’s phone when they come in my house regardless of carrier–they can’t believe they don’t get service. I think it’s the brick. Plus, last year we had a bad snowstorm and the power was out for several days. Everyone’s cell phones were losing charge and dying–I still had a landline on a corded phone that worked. That has me sold on landline for a long time.

  13. Karen says

    I should note the $20 is unlimited long distance and unlimited local calls. But it is part of a bundle, it’s probably more expensive if bought without the cable and internet.

  14. Robert says

    I have both cell phone and land line. The cell is on a bargain $20 per month plan. The land line is VOIP with Charter. I have UPS that will keep the VOIP going for multiple hours in a power failure. I hated giving up reliable AT&T true wireline, but their billing errors drove me nuts. At home we have 2 corded phones & 4 cordless handsets in our moderately large multi-level house. That way, my wife & I don’t have to be tied to our cells day & night. My son, now out on his own, feels just the opposite. He naps with his cellphone on his chest. That’s not for me. To each their own.

  15. Carson says

    I currently have a cell phone only, but am considering getting a home security system and thus will need a landline. Another good reason to have a landline where I live (California) is that earthquakes and fires, both common in my area, wreck havoc with cellular communications. Letting family and friends know I’m safe is critical. I will likely get a bundled package with my internet provider.

  16. Kellie says

    I have a landline for security and health reasons. My boyfriend is type 1 diabetic and we need reliable service to contact 911, espeically if he isn’t coherent and unable to speak he can still hit the one button to call for help if I am not home. Plus when the power went out for several days during a bad snowstorm I was able to pull out the corded phone and make calls to check on family, neighbors and friends. The cell signals were out since most of the cell towers didn’t have power when the generators that run them died.

  17. segacs says

    I kept my landline because I prefer it; if I’m going to be on the phone for any length of time, it’s just more comfortable from the landline. Where I save is by not buying into the hype of iPhones or Androids or various other smartphone devices. My 5-year-old cell phone, which I bought used off of eBay for $30, is on a pay-as-you-go plan. I buy $100 worth of credit at a time, which lasts me for about the full year of validity time. That’s less than $10/month. I spend about $25/month on my landline, so all in all I pay less for both than most people pay for their cell phones alone.

  18. says

    I keep my landline because it is just as cheap with DSL as getting straight DSL.

    I use no-contract cell phone plans to keep my costs down there to a bare minimum, yet still get all the coverage and service I need

  19. Evan says

    I never have a though to disconnect my landline at home as there is poor cell phone network coverage in my area. I had expereinced for the telephone provider offer Conference Bridge service (a conference call with 3 or 4 or even more parties in different time zone to have a call same time), it is not 100% sure that the non-landline user able to get into the conference bridge. My colleagues who with VOIP or cell phone are not able to get in, only me with landline service able to dail-in.

  20. P.Mac says

    I just placed an order on Thursday to bring back my phone number to my landline. We had an earthquke the other night. The celltowers were jammed and the internet went to a slow crawl. We had no phone service. We will by the end of this coming week should this happen again. And this earthquke wasn’t even an emergency, imagine if it had been.

  21. says

    FROM A TELECOMMUNICATIONS ENGINEER: I’ve worked for both landline and cellular companies for over thirty years. I still have wired landline. Why? In a situation where there is widespread power loss, it is likely that your wireless provider’s towers will lose power after 6-8 hours. Cellular companies simply cannot afford to equip all their towers with backup generators, and even if they did, extended outages would require that they re-fuel the generators frequently to keep them running. With ANALOG landlines (not digital like Fios), your phone is powered by central office battery, and the loss of central office battery in an extended power outage is not likely to happen since the serving central office is usually equipped with a backup generator to keep the batteries charged. That’s why I will always have a landline in my home, unless and until our FCC, in their dim-wittedness, allows the phone companies to sunset analog telephone service.

  22. P.Mac says

    Do you think that they will ever do completely away with landline service? I hope they don’t but I figured you would know being a telecom engineer

  23. says

    The issue is whether the telephone companies will retire their aging analog facilities and migrate to 100% digital service. Digital would be used to deliver wired service, but doesn’t utilize central office battery; digital landlines are backed up with a small battery at the user’s premises and these don’t last very long before service being interrupted. I can see the phone companies lobbying the FCC to allow for discontinuance of analog service, and should the FCC agree, then the benefit of having analog landline service will disappear. Should that happen, then there’s really no benefit for having a digital landline vs a cellular connection other than E911 issues, and in an extended outage situation, the digital landline will quit in a few hours. I guess you could equip your home with a larger capacity backup battery that would last for days, and even have the phone system recharge when your own backup generator kicks in. It’s the 2010′s and as we’ve seen with hurricane Sandy, no one can rely upon anyones timely assistance. You had better construct your own survival plans.

  24. P.Mac says

    I have Fiber Optic service to my house and have that backup battery you are talking about. And I did think of a Plan “B”, I have a backup battery to use. I also have a solar charger to recharge the batteries if need be and a Switch to shut the betteries off and use only when needed. I can go up to 8 hours I am told on one battery. In an outage, I would not be calling the whole address book, that is for sure. I guess what I was wondering, would they just get rid of all the phone lines all together. I read up more on this and I do not think they will, at least in our lifetime.

  25. says

    As Techie I say get ride of the old land line and use a bundled VOIP line. This is what Cable and Phone companies have today. I use FIOS. However for Business users you can create Virtual PBX boxes easily. Allowing your business to travel with you. A quick and free one is Google Voice. Another paid one is grasshopper. There are a lot of them if you just Google Virtual PBX.
    Also my alarm system is using a cell tower. The main issue is you should have two points of communication. During Sandy my Cell phone couldn’t call out since the towers were knocked down by the storm. While VOIP doesn’t work 100% during power outages there are backup batteries that will keep them up for a little while as mentioned above. Plus with generators you can plug the box in. All said and done it’s good to have both.

  26. Christiana says

    i hve a plot of land for you at the back of mountain of fire ministry at lagos ibadan express way, the plot is on foundation level,
    documents on it are,family agreement, registered deed of conveyance,family receipt, price 2.2m you can email me:osicater@yahoo.com

    and also a 6 bedroom bungallow on two and half plots. at ikorodu , all document obtained, price 10million.

  27. says

    Hello,

    Thanks for your response regarding your interest in having my house for rent.The house is much available for now and it a 3 bedroom home.I want you to know that i am the owner of this building situated at 15 Wayne St – Worcester, MA 01603.But i am now presently in West Africa for my Hopitals Project prayer crusade with my wife and we have the keys right here with us.I will like to inform you that it was due to my transfer that makes us to leave the house and also want to give it out for rent and looking for a responsible person that can take very good care of it as we are not after the money for the rent but want it to be clean at the time and the person that will rent it to take it as if it were its own.So for now,We are here in West Africa,NIGERIA our new house and also with the keys of the house,we are trying to look for an agent that we can give this document before we left but could not see and we are as well as don’t want our house to be used any how in our absent that is why we took it along with us here.We are only willing to give the house out to a lovely and caring family only, so if you know you cannot give the house the neatness it deserves please don’t contact me.But if you promise to always take good care of the house,get back to me on how you could take care of our house or perhaps experience you have in renting a home.Hope you are okay with the monthly price of $1000 with hydro,heat laundry facilities,air-condition Etc.I am looking forward to hear from you ASAP, below is the application form for you to fill and discuss on how to get the house for rent.

    RENT APPLICATION FORM
    Also,Pls let me get this answer.

    1)Your Full Name Wayland Whitney Williams IV
    2)Your Full Address & Phone Number 24 Sutton Rd Millbury MA
    3)How old are you? 38
    4)Are you married? Yes
    5)How many people will be living in the house? 4
    6)Do you have a pet? NO
    7)Do you have a car?Yes, Mercedes Benz
    8)Occupation? Human Resources Recruiter
    9)What is your religion? Episcopalian
    10)Are you born again? I am Episcopalian

    We rent a house near by in Millbury that owner is paying ouyr first last security for our lease was not done until May 1, 2009. The hose closes January 29th, and we have mover coming Janaury 31st. We would need a place by Janaury 31st. The house we rent now has an inground pool, we did many improvements that helped the house sell. Hope to hear back very soon, I had left you a message yesterday on your voice mail at the house address.

    Looking forward to hear from you with all this details so that i can have it in my file incase of issuing the receipt for you and contacting you.Await your urgent reply so that we can discuss on how to get the document and the key to you,please we are giving you all this base on trust and again i will want you to stick to your words,you know that,we do not see yet and only putting everything into Gods hand,so please do not let us down in this our property and God bless
    you more as you do this.
    Regards.
    Thanks

    Please let me know what I can do to put a stop to this. It is the second time this has happened to one of my real estate listings.

    Comment by Kathleen— January 28, 2009 #
    Reply

    I received a similar email when I responded to an ad on craigslist. We went and looked at the property and a red flag immediately went off when we noticed a for sale sign in the yard. Did some investigating and came across this. The email he sent is as follows:you can email me:dangota.landandhousecompany@gmail.com

  28. says

    Hello,

    Thanks for your response concerning my ad. The house is much available for now and it’s a 3-bedroom home. There are 2 full bathrooms and 1 partial bathroom. It is situated on 8456 Steleta Drive, West Chester OH 45069. I’m the owner of the home and I and my wife just moved out recently because we came over to Africa for my Hospital’s Project, “Doctors Without Borders”, it’s more or less a voluntary christian project, and so we would be here for a while. The keys are right here with us. The decision to give the house out for rent is because of this project.

    The house is in perfect condition that’s why I want someone responsible to be there in our absence. We are more interested in the state of the house in our absence than the cash. We would be very pleased if you took the house as if it were yours. So for now, we are here in Nigeria, West Africa, our new house. We tried looking for an agent to leave the keys with but we couldn’t because this project came on such short notice, so that’s why we took the keys and the documents along with us. We are only willing to give the house out to a lovely and caring family, so if you know you can’t give the house the neatness it deserves please don’t contact me. However, if the reverse is the case, get back to me on how you could take care of our house or perhaps your experience in renting homes. Hope you are okay with the monthly price of $920 and a security deposit payment of $920 with hydro, heat, laundry facilities, air-condition and a dishwasher. I am looking forward to hear from you ASAP.

    I’m sorry but the pictures are the best I can do concerning the tour of the house. You can also drive by the address if you wish. There is a garage that takes 2 cars, but the basement isn’t finished yet. Phone calls are always better but the time difference between us is really tricky.

    Kindly confirm your interest by filling the form below:

    TENANT RENT APPLICATION FIRST NAME:__________? MIDDLE NAME:__________? LAST NAME:__________? PROFESSION:__________? PHONE: (CELL)PHONE__________? (WORK)PHONE__________? (HOME)PHONE__________? KIDS _____ (YES/NO), HOW MANY ________ PRESENT ADDRESS: _____________________ CITY: _______________ STATE:______________ ZIP CODE: ____________ HOW LONG? ___________IF RENTING WHY ARE YOU LEAVING__________? IF THIS HOUSE IS BEING GIVEN TO YOU, HOW LONG DO YOU INTEND STAYING? ____________? WHEN DO YOU INTEND MOVING IN? ______________? IF YOU HAVE A PET, NAME OF PET: _____________? KIND OF PETS: _____________? HABITS DO YOU SMOKE ______________ ? DO YOU DRINK ______________? DO YOU WORK LATE NIGHT? ____? HOW SOON CAN YOU COME UP WITH THE DEPOSIT ?

    ______________________

    Looking forward to hear from you with these details so I could file it in case of issuing the receipt for you and contacting you and also so we can discuss on how to get the documents and the keys across to you. You can reach me on +1248076377455 for more details.

    Thanks and we’re hoping to welcome you to our house in our absence.you can email me:dangota.landandhousecompany@gmail.com

Trackbacks

  1. [...] Landlines are antiquated. Comcast charges $29.95 a month for unlimited talk and text on their landline phones for six months, and then shoots back up to $39.95 -$44.95 a month.  I was also surprised to see accessible voicemail listed a premium service. There’s no reason to pay for a landline anymore, not if you have an Internet connection and a cellphone. You can use free services like Skype, Google Hangouts and Google Voice to connect via video or phone chat for conversations. If you find that you spend lots of time on your landline, consider upgrading your cellphone bill to unlimited talk –I’m confident it won’t add an extra $50 to you bill like a landline does. [Also See: 4 Reasons to Keep Your Landline] [...]

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