Should you give up your landline phone?
Can't live without your cell phone? Well then,
maybe you can live without your landline phone. In fact, it may be
time to make your cell phone the only phone in your life.
Why pay $20 bucks or more a month in taxes and fees
on a landline that you hardly use? Why pay long-distance charges
and taxes on your landline when you can call long distance on your
cell phone at no extra charge?
And if your under-used landline is loaded up with
enhanced services such as call waiting, caller ID, voicemail, call
forwarding and three-way calling, you'll save even more.
Ready to cut the cord?
While it's clear that snipping your landline could save you
some serious cash, it's not for everyone.
Before you cut the cord, make sure going wireless
fits your lifestyle. It frequently works great for college students
and mobile, young professionals.
"They tend to be more nomadic. They change
addresses pretty frequently. They live in group situations,"
says Linda Barrabee, a senior analyst at the Yankee Group. "For
them the headache of sharing a landline doesn't make sense."
And that's why 12 percent of adults aged 18
to 24 have abandoned landlines altogether. And another 28 percent
plan to do so in the next five years, according to the Yankee Group.
Frequent business travelers may want to abandon their
landlines, as well. They're not home much and they already take
their cell phones everywhere they go.
"If you travel a lot and you want to be
reached wherever you are, that's another reason to use your cellular
phone as your primary phone," says Sam Simon, chairman of the
Telecommunications Research and Action Center.
Cell-phone-savvy empty nesters may want to make the
leap to wireless, as well. The kids are gone. They work long hours
and their landlines are gathering dust, anyway. Why
keep paying for it?
Younger and growing families may have a tougher time
abandoning their landlines. If your family talks two hours or more
each day on the phone, you'll probably want to hang on to your landline.
A landline makes a lot of sense if multiple members of your family
are making a whole bunch of local calls.
"With a cell phone, you'd have to get
a new phone for each person and a new number for each person,"
says Alan Keiter, president of MyRatePlan.com. "With a landline
you're essentially paying a fixed cost for unlimited usage."
A landline makes it possible for more than one
person to get on the phone at the same time -- another plus for
And if you, all by yourself, talk for two hours or
more every day you may want to hang on to your landline.
"Heavy, heavy users will want to keep
the landline," Simon says. "If you're on the phone a couple
hours a day, it just makes sense."
Think cutting the cord may be right for you? Before
you abandon your landline completely, consider the downsides of
going wireless with all your phone calls.
Cell phones aren't nearly as reliable as landlines.
When was the last time you picked up your landline and were unable
to make a call?
"There's no question it's not as reliable,"
Keiter says. "A lot of things can affect cell phones, from
weather to where you are in a building."
Reception troubles, static and dropped calls are common
problems with wireless phones. These little headaches are possible
at any time.
Here are six other things to consider before you
snip your landline:
- Can you rely on your cell phone Is the reception sketchy or crystal-clear?
"The most important thing is, does your cell phone work in
every room in your house," Simon says. "If you need
to reach 911, you should be able to do it in every room." In addition, your cell phone may not work if the power goes out, while a simple landline phone will.
- How much do you use your landline? Do you
talk on the phone a few minutes a week or a couple of hours each
day? The less you use your landline, the easier it will be to
give it up.
- How good is your cell phone plan? Could
you transfer all your personal calls to your wireless phone without
going over your airtime for the month? Not sure? Double-check
your calling plan.
- Keep in mind if you do go over your airtime,
it won't be cheap. You could end up paying 40 cents to 45
cents a minute for your calls. For tips on finding a cell phone plan that meets all your
calling needs, check out this
article from Bankrate.com.
- How many people use your landline? Would
cutting your landline mean buying cell phones for each member
of your family? Can you afford that? The bigger your family, the
more likely you are to hang on to your landline.
- Do you use a landline to connect to the Internet? If you have a second landline strictly for your Internet connection, you may want to snip it. You could use your cell phone for local and long distance calls and keep a cheap, barebones landline for your Internet connection.
Hanging on to your solo landline solely for the Internet connection? Be sure to weigh the costs of other Internet options, such as cable modems. With a cable modem youíll get high-speed Internet via cable TV lines. And you donít need to subscribe to cable TV to be eligible for cable Internet service.
Single folks sharing a landline with a roommate or
two may want to consider cutting the cord. You'll have more privacy
taking calls on your cell phone. And you'll avoid arguments over
who should pay for a hefty landline bill.
Be sure to weigh all the costs of going wireless
and think long and hard about your calling needs before snipping
Looking for ways to lower your phone bills without
severing the landline in your home? Consider these tips:
Pare down your landline. Many local phone
companies charge extra for enhanced services such as call waiting,
caller ID, voicemail, call forwarding and three-way calling. Cancel
all services you don't use.
"Get a very basic wireline that has no
frills on it," Simon says.
Lower your long distance costs. If you've
been with the same company and the same calling plan for years and
years, you're probably paying too much for the long-distance service
on your landline. Just a few minutes of shopping can save you money.
Web sites such as MyRatePlan.com,
have search engines that make it easy to compare long-distance offers
between companies. Be sure to shop carefully. For questions about
a particular long-distance plan, contact the carrier directly.
If your long-distance phone calls are few and far
between, you may want to drop your long-distance carrier altogether.
You can pay for the few calls you make with a prepaid phone card,
a dial-around service or even your cell phone if you've got the
minutes. And you'll avoid the monthly fees and taxes charged by
For tips and strategies on saving money on long distance,
check out this
Go wireless in your weekend or vacation home. Before
you pass on a landline, check to make sure your cell phone works
in your home-away-from-home. Next, take a close look at your calling
plan. Will you be paying heavy roaming charges for calls made from
your weekend home?
Occasional but pricey cell phone calls may still
be cheaper than the cost of installing and maintaining a bare-bones
landline. Crunch the numbers.
You may find that getting away from it all means
snipping the landline on your vacation home.