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part of a small rebellion | by maryann johanson

question of the weekend: Do you still have a landline phone?

A recent study revealed that:

– 24.5% of adults only have cell phones
– almost 50% of adults age 25 to 29 only have a cell phone
– 14.9% of U.S. homes have a wired phone that is rarely or never used

I’ve been cell-phone only for maybe five years now, and in fact I only bothered going to the expense and hassle of getting a landline installed in the apartment where I live now when I first moved in eight years ago because I needed it for DSL, which was the only high-speed Internet access then available in the neighborhood. Shortly after, my cable company started offering ISP services, but I let that tethered phone linger in my apartment for a few more years, till I realized I was throwing about 30 bucks a month on something that I literally never used. And I wasn’t at all sorry when I finally dumped it.

Do you still have a landline phone?
Oh, and here’s something I find find fascinating about the move to cell-phone-only telecommunications: A phone number used to be associated with a physical location. Now, more and more frequently, a phone number corresponds to a person, not a place. I’ve got friends who live down the block but whose phone number is technically “in” another area code halfway across the country. My phone number is left over from when I lived in a different area code: I had already had the number for years when I moved here and saw no reason to change it.

It’s funny, too, that with caller ID, which is standard on every cell phone, the first question that usually pops to mind when someone calls isn’t “Who are you?” but “Where are you?”

(If you have a suggestion for a QOTD/QOTW, feel free to email me. Responses to this QOTW sent by email will be ignored; please post your responses here.)

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  • doa766

    I still do, mostly just to get DSL

    besides you have to write something on the “owners contact info” on your cel phone menu in case you lose it

  • Keith

    We still have one. I’m not the one paying for it or I probably won’t have it. We get several unsolicited calls a day on it (we screen with answering machine, but mostly they are just hang ups), eventhough we are on a no-call list (still plenty of charty type organizations out there asking for money).

    With my cell phone and Sprint I only have service at my house about half the time (seem to be in a bit of a dead zone), so often I have to use the land line anyway when I’m at home. It’s not a complete waste of money.

  • JSW

    I have a landline so that I can get DSL more easily and as I don’t really need two phone lines I’ve cancelled my cell phone service.

    I found that I rarely made calls away from the house anyway even when I had a cell phone, so I don’t see myself getting it re-activated any time soon. Now, if any of the local carriers offered decent Internet access at a reasonable price I might reconsider, but for now it’s just an additional expense that I don’t need.

  • I_Sell_Books

    We have a landline phone for internet connectivity and emergencies, as we live in rural New England, lose power frequently and cell phone coverage is spotty.

  • Accounting Ninja

    My husband and I each have a cell phone, and that’s it. We haven’t had a land line in almost three years.

  • Mark

    My wife and I each have cell phones. We had a landline briefly (well, it was VOIP through the cable company, but still) last year; at our last house we also had a landline that we hardly ever used. Our kids, both in their 20s, have never had landline phones, just their cells.

  • I have a landline right now, but I’m in the 14.9% that never use it. The only reason I have it is essentially because the cable company is paying me to. I’m signed up for the triple play, phone, internet, cable. If I just had cable and internet, my bill would be higher than it is now. So whatever, if they want to pay me to have a phone line I don’t ever use, then I’ll let them.

    I signed up for the triple play when I moved into this apartment. When the year of special pricing was up, I called to cancel and they offered me the pricing for another year. Then after that was up, I called to cancel again, and that time they just let me. After about a month or two of just having internet and cable, they started sending me mail asking me to sign up for the triple play deal with special pricing again, so I did. It lowered my bill by about 20 or 30 bucks a month to let them reactivate my landline, and, well, I’m not stupid, so here I am once again with a landline I don’t use.

  • Bill

    No landline since maybe 2001, give or take. No landlines at the new job, either. That actually surprised me. Not sure why.

  • Joanne

    Yes – both at home and work. I rarely use the one at home but the one at work is indispensable (work doesn’t give me a work mobile and I’m not going to start giving out my personal number to all and sundry).

  • LaSargenta

    both, home and work. I have two cells, one for each. And I do use my landlines in both places a lot.

    It is really expensive to get international plans on a cell and I make those often enough to keep me attached to my home landline. Also, it is physically more comfy to talk on for long periods: doesn’t heat up and bigger so I can wedge it against my shoulder when doing the dishes.

  • I still have a landline too–though I mainly keep it for the answering machine. Plus, to expand on LaSargenta’s point,there are a lot of calls–not just long-distance calls–that can’t be made too easily on a cell.

    Then again, it was a conspiracy between my mother, my sister, my best friend and my ex-girlfriend that made me break down and get a cell in the first place. Granted, it was a friendly conspiracy…

    And every time I think of going back and using only a landline, one of my acquaintances has another mishap with a cell phone or Blackberry. At least my landline telephone is not likely to be stolen or lost or accidentally dropped or drenched in fluid…

  • Kat

    Cell-phone rates here are insane, the sheer thought of my phone bill if I had only a cell is frightening. I also live on the countryside and a couple of years ago the whole region was flooded. Major power-outage followed, some cell-phone coverage crumpled too – only lines of connection still working: the good old land-lines (provided you still had an old-fashioned phone). So the land-line remains.

  • Kathy_A

    I’d love to be able to get rid of my land line, but (a) my cell phone is too small for me to hold it between my shoulder and ear, therefore making it a pain for me to use, and more importantly, (b) my apartment building is in a grey zone between two cell towers, and reception is very iffy from day to day.

  • Joan

    Yes. And if they ever decide to do away with landlines like they did analog television (not that I even know if that’s possible), I’m screwed. Not everyone lives in the city. If I don’t have a landline, I don’t have a phone. Well, I don’t have a phone that I can use in my house. If I don’t mind walking a quarter-mile down the road and standing in a field, I’m golden. But that wouldn’t be fun in January.

  • lunarangel01

    I haven’t had a land line for about 3 years now. I’m in the 25-29 age group and the vast majority of my friends don’t have land lines either.

    I do remember the first time one of my college friends suggested that he was doing away with his land line (that was about 6 years ago) and would only keep a cell phone. I thought it was strange. Now I wonder why in the world I would keep a land line around. There’s no use for it. It’s just an extra bill to pay. What’s even crazier is that my land line bill was almost as expensive as my cell phone bill (except with a cell phone I also get texting and internet). It’s not worth it.

  • Nina

    I have the landline for my DSL. I could go with Time Warner for phone, cable & internet, but with their propensity for raising rates & the lousy customer service, I don’t want to put all my tech services in their hands.

  • amanohyo

    I don’t have a landline or a regular cell phone. Just Skype for me, and my wife has Ooma back at the house. I do have an antique pay as you go cell for emergencies only, but I’ve averaged about two calls a year for the past five years. I’m a loner Dottie… a rebel.

  • Kathy_A

    A friend of mine is unemployed and had to explain to her unemployment benefit “counselor” (the woman she had to explain her job-hunting and money-saving tactics to so she can collect her benefits) that she only had her cell phone, not a land line. The woman had never heard of any such thing before! And this was in Chicago, not some boondocks community with no cell service.

    Also, she gave my friend grief for paying for her internet connection at home–she told T that was a luxury, discounting the fact that you need internet access to job hunt nowadays.

  • stryker1121

    Cell phone only for 3-4 years. My landline was getting spammed like crazy by sales calls, so that motivated me to finally ditch it.

  • Michael

    My situation exactly, with Comcast in place of Time Warner. I don’t have a cell phone because I don’t want the extra bill.

  • Boingo

    I have only a cell phone and happy about it. I bought
    my first cell phone and paid some outrageous price:
    hundreds of bucks (900.00 if I remember correctly)? All it did was the basics, and you could use it in lieu of lifting weights for exercise.The competition between cell companies made things cheaper and better. When I tried to end my landline service, it was a nightmare. I kept receiving a monthly billing for 3 months after canceling (though paid in full). The customer service person was rude and may have had training from Lily Tomlin on SNL.

    When we had a hurricane here in Hawaii, many of the
    landlines did not work,along with local cell service.
    Strangely, I could still call a friend on the mainland
    on my cell (er-could you tell me what’s going on here?). All the years of being interrupted with
    civil service alerts on TV and the radio,was for naught. The TV and radios went off air.
    On a side note: I’ll never forget being allowed to
    shop at the local supermarket with a flashlight.
    Some had theirs attached to the cart.

    I feel what I miss with a landline is being able to
    locate the stupid cell in my house when I lose it.

  • zepto

    I haven’t had a landline for 4 years. When I moved here I tried DSL for a while, but the fees for the phone plan I wasn’t even using were making it almost as expensive as cable internet, with a much spottier connection. Instead of trying to get the connection fixed I cancelled the phone and switched to cable internet.

  • I have a landline for my DSL, but don’t have a phone hooked up to it. Sad, because I work for A&T, and my job is in the landline division, which is the unwanted shrinking appendage of the company they’d gladly jettison if they got the chance. They just got rid of the landlines in our office and replaced them with VOIP lines, for better or worse.

  • misterb

    Juat cancelled my landline this week. I probably kept it 3 years too long.

  • Brian

    I haven’t truly used a land line since 2001, and haven’t had one at all in any place I’ve lived since 2004.

    It’s amazing to think about how fast mobile technology has become the norm. Very few people saw it coming, either — look at science fiction films dating back just 10-15 years ago and further, and you’ll see that their visions of the future seldom include universal mobile phone usage. It seems downright quaint now that Deckard uses a pay phone (even a video pay phone) in 2019 in Blade Runner.

    Yet here we are, each of us carrying a device with more computing power than the Apollo 11 lunar module in our pockets, connected instantly to more information than once existed in entire libraries. These are the days of miracle and wonder. :-)

  • markyd

    I hate phones. ALL phones. E-mail is easily my favorite form of communication. Writing things out gives me time to collect my thoughts and not sound like a fool.
    WE do still have a land line. It is mainly used for the DSL connection. I never make calls, and generally ignore the ones coming in.
    I have a cell through my job. It is mostly used for work, of course, but I make personal calls with it on occasion.
    I can’t stand seeing people walking around yapping on their phones.

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