Do You Still Need a Landline?

Your landline – should you or shouldn’t you get rid of it? If you’re feeling like your landline has got to go, you’re not alone. Landlines are quite outdated. In fact, the National Center for Health Statistics reports that more than half of American homes exclusively used wireless phone service during the first half of 2017.

Before you make a decision to cut the wire, read up on the main reasons people cling to their landlines, and why some of them may not matter after all. 


COMMUNICATION DURING EMERGENCIES
This is easily the most pressing reason that keeps people tied to their landlines. If a natural disaster or a power outage hits your area, your cellphones eventually run out of juice. Your landline, on the other hand, keeps you connected to the outside world even when the lights go out.

Why this may not matter:
Here’s where a huge misconception comes into play: Many newer landlines actually won’t work in a power outage. 

Older landlines, which are connected via copper wires to switch boxes and transmit calls between phones plugged into the wall, almost always work in a natural disaster. They connect through wires and don’t depend on electricity. So, your reasoning is sound if your landline is older.

It’s not so simple if your phone line is newer. Most telecommunication companies no longer use copper wires because it does a poor job transmitting signals for cable TV and internet. Most telecom companies that offer bundled services use a Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) line instead of copper wires. These lines transmit phone service over the same cables and wires used for the home’s internet connection. A VoIP line needs to be plugged directly into the household’s internet gateway device to work. Landline and internet connected via shared VoIP line stop working when the power goes out. This includes your phone. Ironically, the primary reason people hold onto their landlines may not even be relevant at all.


LET 911 FIND YOU
Here’s where a landline really works for you during times of crisis: It helps emergency responders find you quickly. Operators instantly have your location when you call from a landline. Calls from cell phones are harder to trace.


CALL QUALITY
Call quality of a landline tops that of a cellphone. Landlines rarely make your voice sound tinny, they won’t suddenly drop your calls in middle of an important conversation, and they are hardly guilty of filling your phone line with annoying static.

What about your cellphone? You never know what your cellphone quality will be thanks to bandwidth allocation and its small receiver and microphone.

Why this may not matter: 
You can have great call quality with a cellphone if you have excellent reception at home and impeccable phone service.


MONEY SAVED
In another twist of irony, clinging to your landline might actually be saving you money each month. Here’s why: Most telecommunication companies offer special deals on service bundles like cable, internet, and a landline. If you cut the landline, but keep the other two services, you may not be eligible for that great deal any longer and you end up paying more for fewer services.

Why this may not matter:
If you don’t bundle your telecom services and you keep your phone line separate from your internet connection, this won’t apply.


CHEAPER INTERNATIONAL OPTIONS
You may have a terrific cellphone plan, but your bill can look scary if you ever use you cellphone for an out-of-country phone call. Landlines, on the other hand, often offer fantastic international plans that can make overseas calls affordable.

Why this might not matter:
This factor might not make a difference to you if you rarely make calls overseas.


SHARE A FAMILY PHONE
It can be expensive to get each family member a cellphone. It’s also annoying to have to constantly nag them about not going over their minutes or data coverage.

Why this might not matter:
This won’t concern you if each child already has a cellphone and the family is on a share plan with enough minutes and data to go around.

So, can you hang up on your landline or not? The jury is still out on this one. But, if you carefully consider your own needs and particular circumstances, you can make the decision that’s right for you.