A question on mobile phones

I don’t often do this, but every so often I come across a question that I need help deciding. What’s the use of having a moderately popular blog (alas, 3,000 visits a day do not constitute an “immensely popular” blog) if I can’t sometimes use it for my own nefarious purposes, right?

The question is simple, and, I expect, one that many of my readers have experience with.

My wife and I have been contemplating getting rid of our land line telephone and going just with our mobile phones. One of the reasons we’re contemplating this is that Verizon just keeps increasing the price for basic service. For a phone with Caller-ID and voice mail (two absolutely essential features, as far as I’m concerned; we long ago gave up using an answering machine) has crept up past the $40 a month range. That’s nearly $500 a year. Given that we make most of our calls these days on or cellular phones and that my wife now receives most of her calls on her cell phone, we’ve started to question whether we need the land line anymore. We rarely go over our daytime minutes. (Actually, I never go over my minutes and in fact probably have more than I need; although my wife on occasion flirts with going over hers)

The advantage of ditching the land line is obvious: Not having to pay for it anymore. But what are the disadvantages? One that I can think of is that if there’s a prolonged power outage, the batteries in the cell towers run out and you can’t make calls, whereas with a land line, as long as you have a basic phone that doesn’t require plugging in to work, you still can. But is that consideration worth $500 a year? One other disadvantage that I can think of is that, when I leave my phone upstairs and I’m downstairs, I often don’t hear it if there’s a call, particularly if the TV is on. With a land line we have phones both upstairs and downstairs that ring when someone calls. Again, I don’t know if that’s worth $500 a year anymore. And are there any disadvantages that I haven’t thought of, that only someone who has ditched their land line would have discovered.

The comments are open.


  1. #1 coturnix
    April 29, 2007

    Ditch the landline. If there is no power for so long, there will be other people in the neighborhood with ingenious solutions (or landlines). If you don’t hear the phone upstairs – well, if it is important they’ll call again and again until they get you, and if it is not important, who cares.

  2. #2 Tanya
    April 29, 2007

    I think for $500 a year I could train myself to hold onto my cell in the house if it is that important to be in contact.

    Actually, thats exactly what we did. My husband uses the phone must more often than I do. Practically the only time I use it is to call him from somewhere else. We jumped on the cell phone bandwagon very late, but we dumped our landline at the same time. It was never in question that we would.

    My phone is sitting in the bedroom right now, and there’s no way I will hear it ring. And I’m okay with it because I don’t feel obligated to be in contact every second of my life. My husband answered his phone while on the toilet last night.

  3. #3 steve s
    April 29, 2007

    Landlines are on the way out. I’ve lived with roommates in their 20’s in 3 college towns in the last 3-4 years, and nobody’s even mentioned having a landline. It doesn’t even come up when they’re telling you about the apartment. Already having a cell phone, the idea of paying extra money to have a phone with a different number and fewer features which you can’t take with you when you go places seems kind of retarded.

  4. #4 Nobrainer
    April 29, 2007

    Since about the year 2000, I’ve only had about 3 reasons to have a landline:

    1 – one roommate absolutely refused to buy and use his own cellphone
    2 – high speed cable internet isn’t an option and DSL requires a landline (not necessarily the case anymore)
    3 – cell coverage simply isn’t good in a particular house

  5. #5 Chet
    April 29, 2007

    There is something called a “cellphone socket” you can get,that allows your cellphone to be turned into a “jack” into which you can plug a landline (or two, or three, or N).

    Also, heh, eventually AT&T and the other telcos will be removing all that gloriously reliable circuit-switched equipment at your curb and central office, in favor of oh-so-statistically-trustworthy IP infrastructure. So eventually, your land-line -won’t- be any better than a cell.

  6. #6 HCN
    April 29, 2007

    Glad we never ditched the answering machine for voice mail. Our landline is still just $22 per month, and right now daughter spends more time on it. If she did that kind of talking on her cellphone it would get costly.

    But then, again, you don’t have a teenage daughter.

    Oh, and the satellite company wants the DVR connected to a landline.

    As for power outages, it may depend on where you live. Last December after the rain and wind storm, there were outages of both cell and digital cable phone connections, along with some being without power for over a week (we had no power for just a few hours). It was worse in the more rural areas where just getting fuel at a gas station was difficult. Some people actually threatened violence towards a cell company crew trying to buy gas for the generators powering the cell tower.

    Probably not an issue for New Jersey.

  7. #7 PlanetaryGear
    April 29, 2007

    I’m glad Chet already mentioned the sockets, though I dont yet have that setup at my house I keep looking into it and thinking I should.

    If the reception in a certain area in your house isn’t that good, you can get repeaters for inside your house like this one:


    or others are available too that can help you to get signal everywhere, even in your basement 😉

    One of the downsides that keeps me from doing it right now is that we need to have a working phone in the house, even if my wife and I are out. For the babysitter or the kids to be able to dial 911 or call me on my cellphone when I go out. If you only use your cellphone, then your house is basically cut off when you’re not home.

  8. #8 Pascal Leduc
    April 29, 2007

    A few Alkaline batteries in the fridge and one of those battery powered cell phone rechargers will fix your weakness to long term power outage.

    Heck, with a car battery and some power converters you could build yourself a home made UPS to run cell phone and anything else you need.

  9. #9 olvlzl, no ism, no ist
    April 29, 2007

    I’ll carry around an electric leash when they pay me to do it, and only during the hours I contract to carry it. Don’t understand why anyone would want to leave themselves at everyones beckoning call 24 hours a day. Or even 12.

  10. #10 Stuart Coleman
    April 29, 2007

    I haven’t had a real phone in a while, but I’m in college and we’re just too lazy to fix the phone in our room. But my mother gave up her land-line and hasn’t reported any problems. As far as I can tell they’re pretty much obsolete with cell phones and e-mail.

    I don’t think you’d miss it too much.

  11. #11 Stuart Coleman
    April 29, 2007

    I haven’t had a real phone in a while, but I’m in college and we’re just too lazy to fix the phone in our room. But my mother gave up her land-line and hasn’t reported any problems. As far as I can tell they’re pretty much obsolete with cell phones and e-mail.

    I don’t think you’d miss it too much.

  12. #12 Joe
    April 29, 2007

    My brother has a recharger in his car which, he says, is better than the one plugged into the house current. Also, hand-cranked, emergency gizmos are coming out. I have one that suggests (in a picture) that it can charge a cell-phone. This particular gadget (primarily a flashlight) is a piece of junk, with instructions in Chinglish; but there may be hope for such technology.

  13. #13 Chris
    April 29, 2007

    Don’t understand why anyone would want to leave themselves at everyones beckoning call 24 hours a day.

    Who says you have to answer it? They have an ‘off’ button, you know…

  14. #14 James
    April 29, 2007

    My SO & I have been on cell-only for about 10 years now. We have yet to find a disadvantage to not having a land line.

  15. #15 Zombie
    April 29, 2007

    Having had recent experience with a multi-day power outage, the landlines didn’t stay on, either. They have about a 12-hour UPS at the CO and after that, the phones don’t work.

    But I have an even-crappier-than-usual phone company, Century Telephone, which seems to specialize in operating rural phone systems with hand-me-down equipment.

  16. #16 Hans
    April 29, 2007

    We were landlineless for a good many years because we got tired of telemarketers, but we got a line back when my wife got a cancer scare and started making interminable phone calls. The money she spent then would keep a landline for several years.

    Mind you, we have a basic line @ $15 a month, which turns out to actually be a bit over $26 a month. No voice mail, no caller id, no answering machine, no nothing. Not even long distance service (we have our cells for that). I don’t anser it, because it’s always either for my wife or my daughter.

  17. #17 Katie
    April 29, 2007

    I finally gave in and got a cell phone just out of college in 2005 and gave up land lines at the same time. The only problem I’ve had phone-wise is that I have this tendency to lose phones or forget to charge them for days at a time, but honestly, I hate the phone and no one ever calls me anyway, so I really don’t care. The only reason I ever sort of wish we had a landline is because we’re pretty much stuck with Comcast for cable Internet because we don’t have a landline for DSL, and I hate Comcast. But to get a landline we’d never use plus DSL would cost just as much as keeping Comcast cable + internet, and then we wouldn’t have cable anymore.

  18. #18 Skeptyk
    April 29, 2007

    If I were you, I would consider ditching the POTS.

    But I am me. Living among rural hills where cell service is spotty (and none at our house), we still have landlines.

    Because the male spawn is on a new medical odyssey, we just loaded up with Caller ID and voice mail and so on, but when he gets to the transplant list, we are going to have to devise other ways to be sure we are always reachable. That should be pretty easy, actually.

    We have satellite TV and radio, and there is still no cable service on this dirt road. A bunch of us neighbors convinced the phone company to put in DSL, but when the power goes out, all we have is the POTS line, and, of course, then you can only use the phones with those cord-thingies leashing you the wall. One of our old phones has a rotary dial and an actual bell ringer. Not much to break on an old telephone, so they will outlive me.

    We have a few solar panels and lots of ham equipment so we are not electronically isolated or in the dark with a power failure, but the food still goes bad and the well pump doesn’t work.

  19. #19 Alex
    April 29, 2007

    As a mobile specialist: first of all, a lot of cell-sites have generator backup, and some have renewable power. I would suspect that if the power stays off long enough for the diesel in the tank to run out, and the mobile network operator can’t get a field-service technician with a truck to it, it would be surprising if your local fixed-line exchange had power. BellSouth (i.e. Cingular) and T-Mobile got engineers and gear into New Orleans within five days.

    Further, in an emergency, the chance of the wire being down must be pretty high (unless hurricanes are a problem, in which case, cell-site towers tend to fall over too). If you have coverage from a reasonably competent carrier, you could also have back-up Internet access.

  20. #20 William the Coroner
    April 29, 2007

    I dislike electronic leashes, and I wouldn’t have one. One more thing to get lost or stolen. I don’t bother with caller ID or an answering machine or voicemail. Hell, I turn the ringers off most of the time. Total luddite, I know, but if I’m not initating contact, I don’t want it.

  21. #21 Sven in Rochester
    April 29, 2007

    I’ve been living in an apartment for the last 8 months with a good buddy of mine (we’re college students, living near-campus). We have DSL for internet, but having phone service (and a phone number) is an extra fee, so we declined it and haven’t looked back.

    As long as you have a good cel-phone plan (and it sounds like you do), there is almost no need for a land-line anymore.

  22. #22 Radi
    April 29, 2007

    Orac, you may be well under your cell phone minutes limit now, but if and when you switch to cell-only, you’ll see those minutes dwindle VERY fast. Just keep that in mind.

    I have Cingular, and had 1600 rollover minutes when I turned off my landline. In less than a month, I’d used them all up (to be fair, I was looking around for a new job, and had a lot more calls that month than normal, but still). Anyway, I found that 300 anytime minutes was not sufficient without landline backup, so I had to switch to a better – read “more expensive” – plan.

    Other than that, I’ve been blissfully landline free for almost 2 years. When my mother comes to visit – usually for at least 6 months, considering she comes all the way from India – I sign up for a VOIP service (basic, $15 a month), then cut it off when she leaves.

  23. #23 Roak
    April 29, 2007

    Before violence spills on to ground, it simmers in the inner corridors of human mind.

    Desire for violence with all its hideousness and tyranny is born in the crevice of our dark thoughts and emotional alleyways populated by egocentric desires, perceived disenfranchisement and reckless disregard for human suffering.

    Even when people are not fighting on a visible battleground, they are battling it out silently, within their homes, with their own wives and husbands and kids and friends. Outer violence is just an amplified version of inner battles and dissatisfactions. Any person taking to violence and killings must have lost the inner peace.

    A recent case in point is Virginia Tech University where a student butchered students and Profs. What a terrible waste of life and potential! And how did it come to that? Why would a student resort to such a thing where blood is spilt like water and countless lives are snuffed and others maimed psychologically?

    Does it say something about the times we live in or is it a reflection of our general attitude toward life–if what you want is not gettable through patience, it is ok to use force? Either way, the answers are disturbing and disheartening. Are we doing something to drive people over edge?

    Whatever the reasons, it is all disturbing and deeply painful. What has gone wrong with our civilization, I was asking myself? Why are our kids playing with guns instead of other friendlier things?

    Out of various reasons, one is that we are not allowing students to flourish as a human being. The whole educational system is geared toward packing mind with useful rational information so that they can compete in the job market and the emphasis is on making them marketable. There is no room for any mental and spiritual growth. Students are not encouraged to take a step back and see where education fits into the larger scheme of their life.

    When we can not cope up with life and its demands or have no hopes of doing that, our inner dormant Mahabharata stirs up. This is where something goes wrong. We do not have anything in place, especially integrated within the curriculum, where students can learn ‘how not to be depressed, angry etc.’ Even if some venues are available through student services, students do not want to go there because of the fear of being labeled a ‘sissy’; or those venues simply cater to symptoms once they have developed. There are not many avenues for cultivation of positive emotions of mental states.

    In order to deal with their hidden Mahabharata, we need to teach our kids the merits of constant cultivation of positive qualities and offer them a hope. It is not sufficient to visit temples or churches or just reading morally edifying literature; we need to offer them appropriate methods, integrated within the school system, so that they can deal with their negative emotions and mind-sets before it bursts open in the form of violence and killing.
    Death is scary in itself and when one chooses to kill himself after killing so many others, we need to sit up and ask: what wrong have we done to our kids that they choose a life of violence and death?

    If it takes a village to raise a kid, then the same village should sit up and look deep within their educational process if they did something unintentionally that unleashed what we saw in Virginia Tech.


    Parmjit Singh, PhD

    Dr. Parmjit Singh has a PhD in Psychology and Post Doctoral training from Australia and Canada. Currently, he is teaching in the BHSc Honors and MD Programs in the Faculty of Health Sciences at McMaster University, Canada. He is currently working on a ‘positive emotions curriculum’, a project designed to provide a platform for university students to cultivate nurturing emotions and positive mental states integrated within the standard curriculum. He also publishes a monthly newsletter ‘The Health Q’ (International Standard Serial Number, 1715-6165) and an online magazine, ‘Healing Matrix’ http://www.HealingMatrix.ca (International Standard Serial Number, 1710-9787), edited by his wife, Dr Manjit Handa.


  24. #24 DancingSamurai
    April 29, 2007

    I’m surprised no one has mentioned VoIP yet. My SO and I each have cell phones — mine is a very rudimentary plan since I’m never on the phone; she however does a lot (like 1-3 hours a night) of talking with her family in the next town over — which is long distance. To do all that on her cell phone would be quite expensive.

    Since I’m a major geek I convinced her we should get a VoIP solution. The big names in VoIP (Vonage et al) are almost as much as a ‘real’ land line so I went for a build my own solution. I ordered a Grandstream ATA for $70 and plugged in our existing cordless phones into it. I have service through Callcentric. The great thing is, I now have two phone numbers, one in my physical local town and one where my SO’s family is, so they can call us as a local call and all we’re paying is the $6 / month for the phone number. On average we pay $20 / month for our VoIP line — that’s with two phone numbers — and it gets quite a bit of use.

    My only complaint is that the call quality really suffers when I’m saturating our DSL line, despite the QoS on the router. Re: the DSL – there’s a small extra charge for Dry DSL, but the cable provider throttles BitTorrent without so much as admitting to it so that was not an option.

    Bottom line is if you’re looking to cut down your landline costs but don’t want to give it up completely, VoIP is a pretty good solution.

  25. #25 Lindsay Beyerstein
    April 29, 2007

    I haven’t had a land line in 3 years. Landline installation is exorbitant in my neighborhood, so decided to go mobile. Results are mixed at best.

    The main disadvantage is that I miss calls because I don’t hear the phone ringing. Sometimes I put it on “silent” while I’m out and forget to turn it back on again. More annoyingly, it’s just not loud enough to hear unless I have it on me.

    I can count on a landline call waking me up if I’m asleep–but not a cell. If I’m expecting a call, I’ll put it right by my bedside, but even then it’s easy to sleep through.

  26. #26 Bartholomew Cubbins
    April 29, 2007

    I think this is cool and it works well to consolidate multiple lines:


  27. #27 Julia
    April 29, 2007

    1) How often do you have power outages? We have them surprisingly often.

    2) How much time is spent talking on the phone? (See previous commenter about how quickly minutes get used up.)

    3) Is there some reason that you’d need a dedicated phone in your house?

    If you don’t have power outages often at all, and don’t spend much time on the phone anyway, and don’t have any reason to need a dedicated phone in the house, drop the landline. If too many of those are a factor against dropping the landline, then keep it. We’re keeping ours for awhile, because our usual babysitter gets crappy reception here and she needs to be able to reach us (or call 911) in an emergency. Also, neither of our kids’ grandmothers handles cellphones very well, one due to difficulty in learning to use it, the other due to hearing aid issues.

    Just my $0.02.

  28. #28 notmercury
    April 29, 2007

    I think Uniden and a few other brands make a home cordless phone system with bluetooth so it will automatically pair with your cellphone when it’s in range allowing you to use it as another line. Panasonic has a Skype adapter so you can use your Skype account as another line.

  29. #29 Justin
    April 29, 2007

    I’ve been cellphone only now for a year and I’ll never go back. To make up for fewer daytime minutes I make daytime calls from my office phone or call back in the evening, when I have unlimited minutes (a beneficial feature when looking for a plan).

    I save a lot of minutes by having caller ID (to avoid calls during the day) or answering and offering to call back immediately, when I’m near my work phone.

    The only drawback is that, for me, all long distance calls are $.20 per minute. If you make a lot of long distance calls that may be something to consider.

  30. #30 jmb
    April 29, 2007

    I haven’t seen anyone else mention something that could be a problem. That is the house alarm system. Ours is connected to our land line both for burglary and fire. I don’t know if VOIP works with the alarms but we have way too many blackouts for VOIP.

  31. #31 olvlzl, no ism, no ist
    April 29, 2007

    Who says you have to answer it? They have an ‘off’ button, you know…

    Posted by: Chris

    But then they’ll want an explaination of why you didn’t answer the phone. Nope, I’m not joining the electrically tethered life.

  32. #32 Joe
    April 29, 2007


    Thieves know they can cut the phone line and defeat your alarm system. For a long time, now, the best systems have run on battery-powered cell phones.

  33. #33 JScarry
    April 29, 2007

    We’ve had the very basic landline service for years. We get a few hundred local minutes “free” each month and pay for additional if we use them. We have a long distance carrier selected so we pay $16 per month. You can set your landline up so that you don’t have a long-distance carrier and save the $4 per month long distance fee. You can use a 1-800 number or calling card if you want to make a long distance call, which you probably won’t want to do since you have cell phones.

  34. #34 Noah
    April 30, 2007

    Without all the features, our landline is about 22 dollars a month. We consider it worth the $260 to have a somewhat more reliable 911 service and to have a telephone number to give out to companies, etc. We NEVER give out our cell phone numbers so only the really important calls come to our cell. We rarely answer our landline; the answering machine will let us know if the call was important (i.e. you’ve won our sweepstakes!).

  35. #35 Coin
    April 30, 2007

    I’ve been cellphone-only for years and so far have run into only two problems:

    1. I occasionally forget to charge the phone.

    2. You can’t really get DSL at any reasonable price unless you have a land line.

  36. #36 teakel
    April 30, 2007

    I think that I would find a mobile phone too restrictive- I have friends and family who live overseas and interstate who I call frequently, so it would be way too expensive for me. Although it may work differently in the US – for example, we don’t have ‘minutes’ here in OZ. Is it a flat rate to all phones in the state, or country?

  37. #37 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    April 30, 2007

    I use Vonage on a cable modem and have no issues unless of course we lose our cable connection. I’m not using a QoS router at the moment but plan on getting one and I would suggest getting one if you decide to move to VoIP.

    Vonage is sketchy right now because of some internal issues but many cable companies are starting to offerr VoIP service with your regular cable service.

    With Vonage I pay about 25 bucks a month.

  38. #38 Stacy
    April 30, 2007

    We use Speakeasy as our DSL provider, and I think they charge an extra $5-$10/month for the “dry” line (no underlying landline from Verizon or AT&T or whoever), and I’ve heard they only charge that because that’s what the line owner charges them. We haven’t had a real landline in years, first in Texas, now in California, and the only problem we ever had was that Vonage didn’t work very well with our house alarm, but a technician was able to fiddle with it so that it was able to call out. In case of a power outage, we can charge the cell phones in the car.

  39. #39 stacy
    April 30, 2007

    Actually I think the extra for the dry line might be more like $20/month, but still, that’s less than $40 for the regular landline.

  40. #40 Melusine
    April 30, 2007

    I keep my landline because I have DSL (the phone part is $23 a month, but SBC offers a cheaper 25-call per month option.) I have no extra features, such as Caller ID, etc., (thus I don’t answer it unless someone talks into my machine.) Other reasons I keep it are because, 1) it’s public and I once got a phone call from the morgue and they wouldn’t have known how to reach me any other way, 2) people from long ago have the number and I do get calls out of the blue, 3) it’s the number I give stores, doctors and such, as my cell phone plan is the cheapest it can get and I don’t have a lot of weekday minutes, though lots on weekends. As someone said above, I would look into the cheapest low-usage plan and decide if $200 bucks might be worth it.

  41. #41 DouglasG
    April 30, 2007

    I too am on the no landline brigade (facilitated by atrocious customer service)! I really haven’t had any issues. Satellite TV uses phone lines for pay-per-view, etc., but there are other options. If you lose the phone, then you are out of contact for a time.

    In your case, when people call the land line they can talk to you or your wife. With no landline, they’ll have to decide which to call.

    It is nice too, because I tell businesses that ask for phone numbers my landline number (which is disconnected.) Thus, no telemarketers.

    If I were you, and I thank my lucky stars that I’m not, I would strip the landline of all it’s services and start behaving like it doesn’t exist. See how it goes, then if it isn’t needed dump it.

  42. #42 MattXIV
    April 30, 2007

    I ditched my land line 3 years ago and haven’t missed it once. If anything, I’d be annoyed at having to run across the house to answer the phone again.

  43. #43 Joshua
    April 30, 2007

    But then they’ll want an explaination of why you didn’t answer the phone.

    Actually, they’ll just leave a message on your voice mail, and you can get back to them whenever you have some free time to do so. You’ve never actually even tried owning a cell phone, have you? You don’t seem to understand much of anything about how owning a cell phone actually changes phoning habits, you just have a bunch of random personal hangups about them.

    Anyway, I haven’t had access to a land line since I left home to go to college six years ago, and in that time I haven’t encountered a single reason to make a switch back.

  44. #44 ordinarygirl
    April 30, 2007

    Just to add my bit to the already numerous posts…

    My parents each have a cell phone and no land line. They got rid of it a few years ago and haven’t had a problem. They’re not rural, but they live in a smallish suburb in the South. My main issue is that my Mom didn’t set up her voice mail for a long time and she would turn off her phone often (for work, to sleep) and forget to turn it back on.

    My husband and I both have cell phones. I’d love to get rid of our land line. I use it maybe once a month. My husband’s family calls at least once a night though. We both have plans with a lot of anytime minutes (1000 & 1500) that are the cheapest for our provider. I never even get close to using my minutes, but I think my husband would probably run over if we got rid of the land line. It’s more than double the cost though to get a family plan with our combined minutes, but still cheaper than two cell lines and a land line.

    My husband points to reliability with the phone line as his reasoning. He hates VOIP service because co-workers of his that had it had a high rate of conversation drop-off and when a voice came through it wasn’t clear. I’m sure it’s improved quite a bit, but large file transfers during telephone conversations can still cause a diference.

  45. #45 JD
    April 30, 2007

    If you ever have to dial 911, your cell phone is not as good as a landline – yet. E911, which is supposed to help the dispatcher locate the signal to within a few hundred feet, is not fully up and running in all areas. I ran into this a few weeks ago trying to call for help for a friend in a domestic violence situation from outside her house on a cell phone. Even though we gave the police the address, they never showed up, likely because it was an “out of state” call that they couldn’t locate as originating from her address. With a land line, the dispatcher knows what intersection and address the call is originating from. Also, if you are calling from a prepaid phone, and you are disconnected, the dispatcher cannot call you back since they don’t get your phone number as they do in cases where you are calling from a landline.

  46. #46 Didi
    April 30, 2007

    I have VOIP from Lingo – the basic service is about $22 and that includes voicemail, caller id, three way calling etc etc and I pay an extra $10 to have a London, England number which rings me here in Philly. It’s free for my family to call me and it’s free for me to call them – all in all a good deal. I may spend up to $3 extra ringing mobile numbers in the UK which are NOT free. So all in all my bill is about $35 a month – no extra charges, which is substantially better that the $120 – $150 my phone line used to cost me with Verizon. So keep the landline, go VOIP!!

  47. #47 Monimonika
    April 30, 2007

    My mother switched from our landline (Verizon) to Vonage so that she could save some money (we also had a Cingular cellphone plan at the time, too). Unfortunately, we were NEVER able to get a clear call through Vonage over our Comcast Cable connection. Every single call was garbled in some way (whether the garbled sound would be on the caller end, the receiver end, or both) or the volume was way too low to hear what was being said.

    After about a month of this nonsense, we ditched Vonage (“Don’t try downloading large files.”? Are you people nuts!? What’s the point of having cable then?), and didn’t bother to get back into Verizon’s graces. So, we’re now a cellphone-only family. Ditch the landline.

  48. #48 sea Creature
    May 1, 2007

    If you have any health issues, a land line will give you much better 911 coverage than a cell. But since you and your wife are both young and in good health, cell only is fine. The great thing about 911 on a land line is you don’t even have to speak a word to get a response to your home. For my elderly mom, who has called 911 many times (heart attack and stroke) a land line is a must.

  49. #49 Scholar
    May 1, 2007

    You are a friggin computer and you are asking us for technical advice?
    Okay, well I had the same issue. Ended up getting SunRocket internet phone for the landline. Its about 20 bux a month, comes with all the bells and whistles. It does not sound as clear as a normal landline though. At least no more verizon bs ripoffs though.

  50. #50 Mary
    May 1, 2007

    I live in Toronto and am paying through the nose for Bell Canada’s POTS ($55/month for basic service, call answer, call display) but I’m not likely to drop it any time soon.

    1) Stable 911 service
    2) We get a fair number of power outages on windy weekends
    3) I have a home office. I got rid of my business line and use only my cell, but because cell phone rates are similarly outrageous up here, I forward my cell to my home landline when I’m working in the office. (Believe me, that makes up for close to $50 right there). Plus, I still need to send or receive faxes occasionally.
    4) My Blackberry is a great multi-tasker, but as a cell phone, the sound quality kind of sucks.
    5) My security system (yes, I’m a lightly paranoid woman living alone) has had occasional problems with the cell backup service. I like the redundancy of having both a landline connection and a cell connection.

  51. #51 heather
    May 1, 2007

    I would consider emergency use to be the only reason to have a landline phone. Cell phones in emergencies have too many points where failure could occur to make me (as the mother of 2 kids) comfortable without my landline–wireless location technology (accurate only to tens of meters), battery/maintenance issues, reliability (frequent dropped calls or inablilty to place calls) and coverage area (“can you hear me now?”) issues (especially indoors) are all of concern.

  52. You are a friggin computer

    Do you have any idea how well a commercial model would sell?

  53. #53 spencer
    May 2, 2007

    I read somewhere that cell phone towers may be contributing to the demise of honeybees. If that is true….

  54. #54 Flex
    May 3, 2007

    I’ve been land-lineless for about four years when I just got tired of Ameritech’s rising rates and poor service.

    There are a few things that I’ve had trouble with with my cell.

    First, coverage problems, especially in the basement where I keep my computer (it’s nice and dark down there). I’ve purchased cell-phone adapters which are supposed to be able to drive 3-5 phones on the wires within the home. In fact I’ve had two of them and neither of them were particularly reliable and both burned out in a few months. This wasn’t because of old phone wires either, I’ve replaced the phone lines in the house with new wiring. (And I wasn’t connected to the phone companies lines either, in case someone wondered.) When these devices worked, they worked fairly well. But after burning out two at $100 a pop, I quit buying them.

    As for buying a home repeater, they appear to run to about $500. If I was planning to stay in the house a long time I would consider it, but I plan to sell in the next year.

    So, typically I don’t get calls when the phone rings, it simply just goes to voicemail. This can be annoying at times.

    Also, I’ve noticed that even if I am in the same area with my cell, the ringer doesn’t appear to be as loud as my old land-line phone. I could be listening to music, or operating a cordless drill, and miss the phone ringer. That rarely happened with my land phones.

    When I dropped my land-line, I transferred that phone number to my cell phone. That possibility had just become available and was one of the factors which convinced me to switch. Since the area code isn’t a standard cell phone number, I continued to get telemarketing calls. These days, after several years of asking to be added to the do-not-call list, I get very few telemarketers, but it’s something to consider if you are contemplating transferring your land-line number. Since this was my first cell phone, I found the conveniance of not having to tell all my friends my new phone number outweighed the additional harrassment from telemarketers.

    Finally, the last factor which convinced me to move to a cell was that I was starting to travel a little more. It was very nice to have a tri-band phone in Italy which didn’t need any re-programming to get or send calls from my usual state-side number. Expensive, but convenient.

    On the whole, I think the benefits were greater than the problems, but it’s not a trouble-free conversion.

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