General Question

Yellowdog's avatar

Will landline telephones become extinct?

Asked by Yellowdog (4549points) January 18th, 2018

I heard that rotary telephones were available until 2008, but I hadn’t seen one for a very long time. And, most people I know, due to not desiring to pay two phone bills, were using cellular and smart phones almost exclusively by 2010.

I am wondering if we are approaching a time when ALL landline service will become obsolete and no longer provided.

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35 Answers

Mariah's avatar

For personal use, certainly. I don’t think I know a single person my age who still has a landline.

I could see corporations continuing to use them (call centers, etc).

RocketGuy's avatar

Landlines currently have a good link to home address, so is still good for 911 service. Someday cell phone 911 will link to GPS, and will be even better.

We rarely call out using our landline. Almost all incoming calls are junk.

ARE_you_kidding_me's avatar

@RocketGuy It already does, has for years.

Corporations are using VOiP. There may be a hard wire to that handset but at the communications level it is an ethernet device.

I have not had a landline in almost 20 years. They will go away and in short order. There was a bill last year that would allow companies in 20 states to cancel customer landlines and force them into this century. There are VOiP boxes that will allow you to use your old phones if nostalgia is your thing.

KNOWITALL's avatar

I’m 45 yrs old, haven’t had a landline for at least ten years or more. My mom doesn’t have one either at 63 yrs old.

SQUEEKY2's avatar

For home use probably eventually, but for offices and businesses no they will live on.

zenvelo's avatar

I still have a landline, part of my cable “triple header” service.

One thing I never hear about is that landlines are often the only way to communicate after a disaster. The telephone network is often more robust than the cell network.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Yeah. It needs something to replace it, though. In an emergency you need a device of some kind to be in one place in the house at all times, for kids or guests.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Good points @zenvelo. Your landline works even when the electricity is out.

KNOWITALL's avatar

@SQUEEKY2 Even our office lines are internet-based.

@Dutchess_III My 10 yr old little friend has an $800 cell phone, he won’t let me borrow his haha!

And most of us have car chargers, so even if the powers out just plug them into your car outlets.

Dutchess_III's avatar

A few years ago k I thought there was a fire in the house and I could NOT find my phone. I had to go across the street and use theirs.
Everyone loses their phones from time to time, even kids.

anniereborn's avatar

I am 49 and have never NOT had a landline. I have a pay as you go cell phone i take with when I am out for emergencies or something very important. But I cannot afford a decent cell phone that could take the place of my landline. I use it for 99 percent of my calls. That is outgoing and incoming. I know I am a rare breed, but I just don’t need a cell phone.

janbb's avatar

I have both so far. If I move from this house, I will give up a landline. Right now, every time I think of giving it up, Verizion with my bundled services makes it not worth it. Also, as @zenvelo says during a disaster sometimes the landline works and the cellphone not as well. This was quite dramatically demonstrated during Hurricane Sandy.

Will they phase out eventually for home use? I suspect so.

Unofficial_Member's avatar

Consider other people and businesses in thrid-world countries. It’ll still be a long time before landline telephone become truely extinct.

Darth_Algar's avatar

Not entirely, no. Too many vital offices and services depend on the stability of land-based phone service.

flo's avatar

@yellowdog.
By the way with landline, there’s rotary and push button. I see pushbutton telephones still in stores, which is good because who wants fewer options?
I’m sure no one.

ARE_you_kidding_me's avatar

Behind the scenes, in communication hubs and rooms across the country landlines were done away with a long time ago. It’s all digital behind the scenes. The same equipment and fiber optic backbones transport cellular and “landline” connections together. Reliability over cellular is just an illusion if you have good coverage in your home.

flo's avatar

….to add to my last post: Who wants fewer options (I don’t mean between rotary and pushbutton but who wants one option (digital and no landline)?
Do you prefer that it’s a big deal if something happens with your smartphone or with the network or do you prefer there is always the payphones? Does anyone prefer to have only one road one mode of transport to get from A to B?

Adagio's avatar

I, for one, will be hoping they are not made obsolete. Being unable to use my hands, I have never owned a mobile phone. My medical alarm operates through the landline. Added to that, I can answer my landline if it rings by sipping on the tube that activates my medical alarm. The medical alarm is connected to a small speaker by which I can verbally interact with callers.
I have 2 cordless phones and one older landline phone that does not need electricity to work. This phone is invaluable when there is a power outage.

flo's avatar

@Adagio That is such a great point.

Dutchess_III's avatar

I worked in the cellular industry for 4 years. One day we got a really bad, bad ice storm. A sheet of ice the size of Texas smashed through the switch, and bye bye cell service! OMG people were SO MAD! When I tried to explain it to this one lady she said, “What does that have anything to do with my phone not working??!!” It’s not magic, lady.

Dutchess_III's avatar

We have an old, black rotary phone from the 50’s that my husband’s father gave us. I really, really want to hook it up but….I don’t want to spend money every month just because I want something that looked cool! And it would defeat 911 tracking.

flo's avatar

How about alarm systems that need landine?

Dutchess_III's avatar

Those can be digital too.

flo's avatar

Some people who don’t want to switch to digital. It may cost more…

stanleybmanly's avatar

The only way I can foresee the extinction of land lines is if declining usage drives profitability below the cost of maintaining them. Fortunately for devotees, huge investments in fiber optics and switch updates were undertaken before corporations recognized what is now obvious. My guess is that anyone desiring a land line 20 years from now in any of our major cities won’t have any problems hooking up.

Dutchess_III's avatar

And it may cost less, @flo. The more people turn to digital, the more costs go down. And the more people who leave landline services the more the costs go up.

RocketGuy's avatar

We switched to a VoIP landline a long time ago. AT&T made the analog lines too expensive. So our landline has our exact address – good for 911 calls. Our cell phones don’t produce a good address when we dial 911, so we are keeping the landline for now.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Cell phones don’t give addresses. all they can see is the tower it pinged off of. Eventually they could triangulate but by the time they finished your house would have burned to the ground!

Zaku's avatar

No time soon, I would say.

Many people still have them and enjoy the much lower cost, and perhaps the simplicity.

They also tend to be much clearer to hear and speak over, in my experience, than cell phones. Not to mention that the handset is actually the right size and shape for ear & mouth.

The landlines are still used for Internet service, too.

Many rural places have no so good cell coverage and still have many people with landlines.

Adagio's avatar

I would love to see landMINES become extinct!

Love_my_doggie's avatar

I have a fax machine that’s connected to a landline.

I also have a voice landline. During and after every hurricane or other major storm, when there’s no electricity or cellphone service, my trusty telephone works fine. I like being listed in the phone book. My home has really bad cellphone reception. Finally, the hubster and I are simply more comfortable having a single number and voicemail for the household; the landline is our base, while cellphones are satellites.

gondwanalon's avatar

Land lines will become extinct when people stop paying for them.

It’s nice to have two systems of communication incase one system stops functioning well or not at all.

During emergencies (earth quakes, floods, missile attacks, etc) cell phone networks get jammed up quickly and communication stops. For this reason my old employer required that all employees have land lines.

I have a land line. I never use it but it’s there for me to use when the next catastrophe strikes. I’ll be one of the few still able to communicate.

kritiper's avatar

They will always be available for those who cannot afford a mobile/cell/smart phone, and while mobile telephone signals can be hacked.

Judy15's avatar

It’s possible but I don’t see it happening because not everyone has a mobile (even though that’s hard to believe), for example some elderly people etc and I think there will always be some people who would prefer a home line. Also, some people like the distinction between mobile and home line. Mobile phones can be very dependent on reception. A home line is useful to have in case of emergency.

Dutchess_III's avatar

But the cell phone generation will become elderly one day, and the elderly people today, who resist giving up the land line, will be gone.

I still think having one line dedicated to the house, and in the same place at all times, is a good plan. But no one wants to pay extra for something they’ll use so very rarely.

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