Thursday, June 1, 2017

Are Telephone Landlines Obsolete?

Communications for Research, Inc.
CBS News recently published a story about a U.S. government study on May 4, 2017 which reported 50.8 percent of homes and apartments had only cell phone service in the latter half of 2016. It is the first time such households had the majority in the survey. And, more than 39 percent of U.S. households have both landline and cell phone service. So, what’s going to happen to yesterday’s telecommunications technology?

The main difference between a landline and cell phone is the way they complete calls. A landline has a wired connection that connects it to the telecommunications network and uses wire telephone lines to transmit calls. Cell phones use radio waves to transmit calls. You have unlimited mobility because you are not connected to a wire. However, you have to be able to connect to your provider’s network. If you are in an area where your provider has spotty or no coverage, you may be susceptible to dropped calls or no service.

One of the proponents of getting away from the copper wire landline network is actually AT&T. Their current landline infrastructure has served us all well for about 100 years. But, it is aging, becoming expensive to maintain and no longer meets the communication needs of their customers. For people and businesses that still have a need for a landline service, internet-based telephone (VOIP - Voice Over Internet Protocol) service provides a faster and higher-quality service than traditional landlines.

Young people have been the first to totally cut the landline because cell phones are so much more practical when moving frequently. They take their cell phone from home to a college dorm to an off-campus apartment to their first home away from their parents, all within a period of about four years. A smartphone is also the smart choice for frequent travelers who are rarely home long enough to answer a landline.

Think about the last time you answered a call from your landline phone. It might have been some time ago. And it was likely either a wrong number or a sales call. There might be the occasional reason when you require the landline. For example, you may need to use one to call and find your misplaced cell phone. Also, some calls can be more expensive if made on a cell phone. With the cell phone becoming the main tool for communication, we no longer have a strong need for the traditional landline.

While a landline is the best calling option when you have an emergency at home, emergencies can happen anywhere. If you experience an emergency when you are not at home, you can quickly and easily contact the authorities for help with a cell phone.

So, should you cut the cord and get rid of your landline? The answer is… it depends on you and your family’s needs. Do you have young children in the house that don’t have cell phones but need a way to communicate? Do you need to use a phone more when you are not near a landline? Are you confident that your mobile phone is enough in an emergency situation?

If your cell phone is going to be your only phone, make sure you have a device that’s reliable, has a long battery life and has excellent sound quality. Invest in an extra battery to make sure that your phone never goes dead. In addition, have a mobile charger for your car, which you can also use to charge and power your cell phone should your home power go out.


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9 comments:

  1. Interesting blog. Good luck with it.

    The discussion involves only telephone service, but I won't cut my fiber optics line because it serves both telephone and internet accesses.

    Besides that, it looks like I'm moving to the minority in preferring my land line to wireless. My cell phone isn't a smart phone, and I have only the basic $10/month charge by TracFone. I very seldom even turn the cell phone on, only when I'm expecting a call while mobile, from someone I know, and I give out the number to very few people whom I would welcome calls from.

    But the insatiable drive for technology is of course making it harder and harder NOT to have a smart phone, and probably some day I'll get one. It will be a sad day, as far as I'm concerned, because, with today's structure of society, it means even more wealth to the elites. The old ways are leaving us, and I don't think they'll ever return, en masse, unless of course we basically wreck our modern existence by many of these idiotic "advances" in civilization, which again, are schemes that satisfy the greed of the elites, corralling us peons into ever larger feed lots.

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    1. Thanks for your comment, Orrab. If your landline is via a fiber optic server (e.g. FiOS, Comcast, etc.), then you are actually using VOIP for your landline. That's a newer technology that typically provides a faster and higher-quality service than traditional copper landlines.

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  2. David, this is another example of your great articles. Interestingly enough, not everybody can get rid of the old fashioned wired phone. Why? Its is a habit and some people have a hard time changing. In my case I still have a wired line because I feel that the quality is superior in some cases versus the wireless.

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    1. Thanks for your comment, Alex. There are certainly reasons for keeping a landline service. For people that want/need to have a landline, a VOIP service (e.g. FiOS, Time Warner, etc.) is a good choice. VOIP is a newer technology that typically provides a faster and higher-quality service than traditional copper landlines. In face, I use a VOIP service for my office landline and have been very pleased with the performance.

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  3. I keep my landline service because my cell phone reception at home is inconsistent.

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    1. Thanks for your comment, Craig. Quality of cell phone service in your home locations is a big driver for keeping (or abandoning) a traditional landline service. If you live in an area where your cell service quality is not as reliable as you need, then keep your landline.

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  5. Hey Dave, thanks for another great article. I'm afraid that at least for now, I have to keep my FIOS landline. Last I checked, it's less expensive leaving my "triple-play" package in place than it would be to remove the phone. After reading your article, though, I will check back with Verizon in case anything has changed. Thanks for the reminder, Dave!
    Best, Julie J

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    1. Thanks for your comment, Julie. At the very least, you've made the case for using a VOIP service over the traditional copper landline. The FiOS triple play uses VOIP technology. I have also found for me that keeping the triple play to be cost effective, and it provides good voice quality.

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