This might go without saying since I write for a site focused on mobile technology, but I am not a fan of wires and cables. If they were able to make everything in my life completely wireless, I would be much happier for it. You don’t want to see the back of my television, as it is crowded with two gaming consoles, a modem, router, NAS, and a plethora of other cable-connected devices. Not pretty.
Continuing with my quest to cut all the cables and wires in my life, I have long since abandoned my reliance on a landline telephone. Instead, my primary means of telephone communication comes by way of my cell phone. I’m not a big chatter, so I don’t feel the need for VoIP to pick up the slack.
Efficiency and Cost-Effectiveness
The single greatest reason why I have decided to abandon my landline is that I want to save some money. I cannot justify the cost of maintaining a telephone line that I will rarely use and one that can easily be supplanted by another line that I’m going to keep either way: my cell phone.
Cost will vary according to a number of different factors, but a basic traditional telephone line connected to your home will cost you twenty bucks or more a month. That translates to well over $200 a year and I’d rather spend that $200 on something else.
Naturally, people who choose to talk for hours on end may find that it is more cost-effective to use a conventional phone line. Then again, if you’re going to talk mostly in the evenings and weekends, there are several cell phone plans that give you unlimited minutes during those time periods. My plan has that.
What About 911 and Long Distance?
These are the two most common rebuttals that people offer when they say that you shouldn’t abandon your landline altogether. The 911 service offers huge peace of mind, because the operators can determine your location even if you don’t say a word. Should something happen, you can dial 911 and run away. Help should be on the way.
However, technology for cell phones is vastly improving in this area and you don’t have to worry about losing service during power outages. Generally speaking, most cellular operators have backup power, so your phone should still be operational. They can also estimate your location based on cell tower triangulation, but yes, I understand that this is nowhere near as good as the definite location of a landline. I’m not concerned though.
For long distance, traditionalists will tell you that you can’t beat the landline plans that you can get. I beg to differ. You have to jump through a couple of extra hoops, but you can get cheap long distance on your cell phone too. Canadians can use Yak, for instance. American providers oftentimes offer free nationwide mobile-to-mobile too.
Freeing Up My Location
I guess a part of this has to do with my lifestyle choice. As a professional freelance writer, I am able to work from anywhere I have an Internet connection. I am not bound to a single location and I like it that way. A cell phone lets me do that.
With a basic long distance plan through my wireless carrier, paired with Yak service as needed, I am free to travel Canada without having to change my number or alter a landline service. I keep my “main” Vancouver number wherever I go.
So Much More Than Just a Phone
The options when it comes to landline telephones are certainly improving. We’ve gone from wired phones to cordless phones. We have portable caller ID, easy voicemail service, and even picture ID if we want it. However, none of these can compare to what cell phones can do these days.
Rocking a smartphone, I am able to do a lot more than any conventional landline telephone can offer. I can surf the web, check my email, update to-do lists, play games, and more. And, as mentioned, it doesn’t matter where I am, because my cell phone will still work.
If you are concerned about dropped calls in your concrete jungle, there are Bluetooth gateway devices to consider. Those are a better option than paying for both a landline and a cell phone line, I’d say.
What about you? Do you still have a landline? Why or why not?