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john65pennington's avatar

Are home landlines now obsolete?

Asked by john65pennington (29192points) October 14th, 2010

My mother is 92. She has had the same home phone number for at least 40 years. She has paid AT&T a small fortune for those years. She never would accept a cellphone as a replacement for her home phone. Question: How many people still have a home landline? Have you or would you consider changing to a cellphone? If not, why? The savings are at least $100 dollars a month.

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43 Answers

FutureMemory's avatar

We only have cells at my house. I got sick of paying $75/mo for something we never used.

ANef_is_Enuf's avatar

Wow.. why are the phone bills so expensive? When we had a home phone it was $25 a month. I pay less for my cell phone, because I added it to someone’s plan.. so it only costs me $10/month. Obviously a better deal, and practically costs me nothing.
Most of the people I know have both a landline and cell phones in their households. My husband and I only use our cells now.

Mamradpivo's avatar

My wife and I are 27. We both only have our own cellphones. I don’t think I know anyone younger than 30 who has a landline in their home. I don’t imagine I ever will, either.

MissPoovey's avatar

I still have a landline, have had the same number for 20 yrs. I also have a cell phone. Yes, I am over thirty.
One reason I keep a landline is it ALWAYS works. Even when the power is out, etc. Also the privacy laws are different for landlines than for anything over the airwaves, including handheld wireless phones using landlines.
The most private phone is a old fashioned cord connected phone.

JLeslie's avatar

I have a landline. I love it. My husband threatens to cancel it all of the time.

WestRiverrat's avatar

I didn’t even have my new house wired for a land line.

Blueroses's avatar

Cancelled landline 5 years ago and never looked back. No telemarketers, SMS free even to foreign countries, email alerts on my phone…. what’s not to love? Even my great grandma in a nursing home has cell now and loves it.

JLeslie's avatar

@WestRiverrat Really? What if you want to sell? I wouldn’t buy your house.

WestRiverrat's avatar

It is wired with fiber and for DSL and cable. Don’t need the land line and I plan to die in this house, so I won’t care who buys it.

risingonashes's avatar

I do not see the point in house phones anymore. If you count magic jack or vonage I can understand because how cheap it is. I just do not see anyone needing to pay $50 for a phone line.

JLeslie's avatar

@WestRiverrat I thought DSL runs on phone lines? I am pretty ignorant about these things. If you are going to be there a long time it probably won’t matter. Even though I love my landline, probably in the next 10 years the percentage of people who want one who are house buying age will be fairly small.

crisw's avatar

We have a landline. We live in a rural area and cell reception is spotty. Plus, I hate cell phones. I don’t like talking much on the regular phone either.

WestRiverrat's avatar

You used to have to have a land line to get a DSL, that was because the companies didn’t want you moving their satellite equipment. Now there are companies that will let you sign up without a land line, but it costs a little more.

lillycoyote's avatar

I don’t think so but I might just be a dinosaur. You’ll get my landline when you pry it out of my cold, dead hands.

jerv's avatar

Until I got a Droid X with a mandatory data plan, my wife and I paid about the same for two cell phones as we did for a single landline phone with a “friends and family” plan to cut down on long distance charges; about $60/month.

While a landline was fine back when we lived in the woods of NH and worked for a small employer that allowed personal calls during break times, a cell is pretty much a necessity in the since we are rarely home and no longer have such generous employers. There is also the vastly increased likelihood of an emergency (if you ever drove in Seattle, you’d understand why!) so having a phone in the car is a damn good idea.

There are some places (mostly abroad) where, for all intents and purposes, landlines do not exist; it’s all cellphones.

So yes, I would say that landline phones are kind of like CDs; both are still around, but their replacements are selling stronger and it’s only a matter of time (probably not much time either) before both g the way of the 8-track.

@WestRiverrat You still have to have the physical line, but you do not need landline phone service. I have a “dry loop” DSL pipe. If there is a way around that restriction then there must be some new technology I don’t know about. Last I checked, you needed to be within about 2km of a DSLAM.
The real reasons are partly regulatory and partly because the telcos don’t want the cable companies to have a monopoly on home internet. If they didn’t offer “naked” DSL then nearly everyone with a cellphone would have cable providers for their ISP.
And yes, it costs a little more for “dry loop”, but the price difference is far less than the monthly cost of a landline.

lillycoyote's avatar

@jerv It’s not necessarily an either or thing. I have a landline with a phone that is actually plugged into the phone jack in the wall. I have several portable phones attached/linked to to that landline in various rooms in the house and I have a cell phone. I’m covered. I’m not in any hurry nor do I see any need to give up my landline. Like I said, maybe I’m a dinosaur but I’m holding onto it. It may not be entirely rational but, well, what business is it of anyones? And those of you who only have cell phones? Should you find yourself, in the event of an prolonged emergency, without power/electricity for several day (Katrina ring a bell?) and unable to charge them you are pretty much going to be shit out of luck when it comes to having phone service. Just a thought.

jerv's avatar

@lillycoyote A couple of winters ago in NH, I spent quite a while without landlines, lights, heat, water, or reliable access to roads due to fallen/falling trees and the resulting emergency crews. The only things that worked were our car (which we occasionally got into and started solely for the heat), our cellphone, and the 12v charger so we could charge the phone through the cigarette lighter.
Again, the cellphone was our only working phone since our landline was dead.
In other words, been there, done that, and prepared to do it again if need be.

To each their own though. It’s just that my experiences are different, and accordingly, so is my opinion.

WestRiverrat's avatar

Well, I don’t have a land line or a dry loop, and you are seeing this. I don’t know how it works, frankly I don’t care, just so long as it does work.

jerv's avatar

@WestRiverrat Well, that is what counts :D

MyNewtBoobs's avatar

i don’t, probably never will. However, my mother does. Partly because reception in most of her house isn’t great, and partly because when you have crappy eyesight and arthritis, a large landline phone set is just a lot easier to use.

Seaofclouds's avatar

We still have a landline and will continue to have one for at least as long as we have young children. While I have taught my son how to use my Droid, it would be much easier and faster for him to grab the house line to call 911 in case of an emergency. I want things to be as easy for my children as possible in case of an emergency and the new phones just really aren’t that easy, especially for really young children.

DominicX's avatar

There’s no landline at the house I’m living in now for college. No point.

But there is a landline at my parents’ house. They definitely still use it. My parents don’t give their cell number to everyone. It also functions as an intercom that can call different rooms in the house, so I don’t see them getting rid of it any time soon.

jerv's avatar

@Seaofclouds I can do that even with my phone locked just by pressing the button labeled “Emergency Call”.

MyNewtBoobs's avatar

@DominicX I used to have a landline just for calling 911. But I’m trying to not let fear take $40 a month from me (it’s a personal issue with me and my general anxiety/panic attacks, I don’t see it that way for other people).

Jeruba's avatar

Obsolete? Not by me. I still want to be able to reach a household and have others able to reach mine. I love being able to carry my cell around in my pocket, but I also want to know that I can connect to a location and not just a designated individual. I like it that a land line can’t get lost or stolen or run over by your car in the parking lot. Didn’t used to be that they could fall into the toilet, either, but now the cordless ones can.

Even if a repeater cell goes down, the land lines still work. Also when disasters occur to people’s cellphones (as does happen from time to time) that backup is important.

However, it does bug me severely that most of the calls coming into our land line now are junk calls.

I am coming to believe that every golden-egg-laying goose is bound for the chopping block the minute she pops out that first shiny lump of bullion. Some greedy character just won’t be able to let a good thing be. That’s the main thing that’s gone wrong with land lines—all the spam—and eventually it’ll find its way to cellphones too. With people paying for it on both ends, just like spam faxes.

iamthemob's avatar

I don’t think so either. Without universal cell coverage, and as long as people want to depend on a phone for emergencies, I think they’re here to stay.

Also I think people will still keep them around as long as faxes are still common. Eventually, I HOPE that we’ll move fully to PDF-email as the standard – but I think some people still have security concerns that make faxes a more preferable method of transmitting docs.

I do think that if phone companies don’t innovate their services, we’ll see internet bundle style digital phones take over.

LuckyGuy's avatar

No. I still have my landline. We keep it so someone can look up my family in a phone book and leave a message. Our cell phones are for the individuals.owners.

NaturallyMe's avatar

Wow, you guys pay at least $100 for a phone line?!?

Anyway, no, they’re not obsolete in SA. Neither are they as expensive as yours are, we pay about less than $30 a month for line rental excluding phone calls). We need them otherwise we can’t have internet. We only have 1 telephone company in this country so they have the monopoly over this kind of thing. So whichever internet service provider we choose (whether it be one offered by this phone company or someone else), we have to have a landline in order for us to be able to install internet as well. Unless you go wireless, but that’s more expensive and it’s not available everywhere, and even if it is available in your area, there are sometimes “dead spots” or whatever you call them, where you won’t have wireless access, because you’re in a little valley maybe or there’s a hill nearby you that blocks signal or something, i’m not entirely sure how it works.

Kraigmo's avatar

My landline is $20 a month and that includes free unlimited long distance on a crystal clear FIOS out to fiber optic line. Nothing beats that.

And something needs to be said for the nice, crisp, loud, super clear, treble-up sound that the landline phone provides. Today’s wireless phones sound like landlines did, back in the late 1800s, full of low-treble muffling and volume dropping.

FutureMemory's avatar


Do you live in the US?

Berserker's avatar

Nah man, at least up to now, not having a landline is actually kinda unheard of.

meiosis's avatar

I read this as “Are home landmines now obsolete” and thought “I know some of you guys are keen on your second amendment rights, but jeez…” :)

BarnacleBill's avatar

I recently had my land line number ported to my cell phone. The landline was running me $50 a month.

BoBo1946's avatar

Only have a cell phone! You can only talk on one phone at a time, so….why have two! Waste of hard earned $$$!

JilltheTooth's avatar

To get decent, on going reception on my cell I have to be in my driveway. I live in New England, so that would be a huge bore….

jca's avatar

I still have landline. i have a “bundle” from the cable company – internet, cable and phone. when I’m home, I use the landline, the cell is usually somewhere at the bottom of my handbag, and most friends know to try my home number first in the eves and weekends. Where I live, the cell reception is not great. it’s a rural area, and it’s one of those “can you hear me now?” situations. I am one of the people who feels like what if there is an emergency and the cell tower is down, which does happen in high winds sometimes, or could occur in a major emergency.

Pied_Pfeffer's avatar

They aren’t obsolete yet. My cell phone was issued by the company, and I prefer to keep business separate from personal life. Also, since I live in an area that has a fair amount of power outages for extended periods of time, having a non-electric phone is a security blanket.

Mikewlf337's avatar

No point in landlines unless you have poor reception where you live.On a positive note anyone can reach you anywhere. On a negative note anyone can reach you anywhere.

Seaofclouds's avatar

@jerv My phone doesn’t have an emergency call button. Even if it did, that would require my son to know where my phone was. If I was unconscious, I wouldn’t be able to tell him and the time he is looking for it could be time spent already on the phone by using the landline.

OreetCocker's avatar

I get my landline free with my Internet and TV package. In the UK a lot of companies won’t give you credit unless you have a landline telephone number!!

downtide's avatar

I need a landline for internet access because I can’t get it in any other way where I live.

jerv's avatar

@Seaofclouds Ah. Mine is always in one of three places; my front left pocket, my hand, or in the car’s dash mount. No searching required; unlike my wife, I never leave it in my purse or jacket or (except when I’m asleep) on the nightstand. Different strokes for different folks.

downtide's avatar

@jerv I’m like that with important things: phone, keys, change, wallet, always in exactly the same place all the time. Phone: rear right pants pocket. Wallet front right. Loose change front left. Keys in coat, right. All of the above, plus my glasses, on the nightstand when I go to bed and back into my pockets as soon as I get dressed.

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