User Input

User Input: Cutting The Cord

My wireless provider is comprised mostly of thieves and brigands. I haven’t dumped them yet partly because I’m fairly certain that all my alternatives are just as bad, but mostly because I was in a pact with satan contract. Just the other day, though, they did one redeeming thing: they called to let me know I was no longer beholden to them and very kindly offered to exchange a discounted phone for my continued bondage. I haven’t decided what I’m going to do just yet, but I’m fairly certain that I’m going to take this opportunity to reduce the total number of phones I have at my disposal. A lot of people around me, including Deartháir and CardboardTube ditched their landline long, long ago. Considering that I’m the one they call when they can’t figure out their wireless or need the missile codes, it’s a little odd that as far as the phone thing is concerned, I’m the luddite in our trifecta.

There has been some debate that between wireless and VoIP, the POTS will be all but dead by 2014 – which isn’t a long ways off in the life of such things. (Also, for those who don’t know, POTS stands for Plain Old Telephone System – I swear I’m not making that up. I guess it had a little more roll-off-the-tongue allure than the former acronym PSTN, or Public Switched Telephone System.) Anyway, the point is that I can’t see the phone on my desk disappearing, but I can see myself without the one in my house.

Are you still committed to your landline or have you gone (or planning to go) all wireless?

[“User Input” is the AtomicToasters Question of the Day™ asking you,
the teeming millions, to answer our pressing questions.]

  • Even though I can't take it with me everywhere I go, I'll still keep my landline as my only phone, because I can't take it with me everywhere I go.

    • Deartháir

      Have you considered buying a longer extension cord?

      • I may have to. A couple of weeks ago my Freeway broke down on the freeway; the muffler broke free and banged around inside the engine compartment (not pretty). I discovered that nobody within range was monitoring channel nine. Sad, really.

  • dmilligan

    As you might expect, I still have a copper landline to the compound, and I wish I could get fiber. I have nothing against wireless particularly, other than it still seems to be a bit insecure, what with all the phone hacking scandals that you don't read about in the American newspapers. Do landlines still have higher data throughput? I can't remember and I won't go look because it's too much trouble. Also, landlines fare better in inclement weather than does wireless in my experience. Landlines and copper will be with us for longer than you think.

    • P161911

      Back when I worked for a now defunct cell phone manufacturer, I used to know the code for one of their bag phones that turned it into a scanner. I would scan for analog calls on adjacent cell towers. Of course if you have a landline and then use a cordless handset, you negate some security too. My race scanner picks up 900MHz cordless phones. Drives the wife crazy when I listen in on her calls.

    • TechieInHell

      The same is true for more than just phones. Every time we have a network expansion, or new site at work, everybody starts to get all starry eyed and gaga over the fact that "it will all be wireless". I keep having to remind people that wireless augments your network, it does not replace it.

  • OA5599

    I have a friend who works for the local government. He's the only one I know who still carries a pager. I asked him why they don't just save all those tax dollars and consolidate the text messages into the cell phones they already carry and he told me that in the event of an emergency, the pager network is much more reliable than the wireless phone networks.

    Not long afterward, we had an area-wide power outage, and sure enough, my mobile phone couldn't call out but my landline could (on a phone that didn't need to be plugged into a power outlet, of course).

    Most calls that come in on the landline are telemarketers. I do use the landline for outgoing calls to conserve the battery on my smartphone (also the audio quality and ergonomics are better on the landline).

    • My girlfriend works for network operations on campus. Everyone there is required to carry a pager whenever on-call, but nobody cares that she doesn't have a cell phone. I take this as indicative of their opinion on the matter.

  • P161911

    I still have a landline for a couple of reasons. First is the house alarm system doesn't play nice with most VoIP lines. Sure, I could get a wireless alarm, but that would be $20+/month extra. I pay about $30-35/mo. for the landline. The other is I don't have unlimited minutes on our wireless plan. I'm pretty sure my wife would exceed whatever minutes she had on phone calls to her mother. I do not have any long distance service on the home phone, long distance is free on the wireless phones, and I probably make less than 5 long distance calls a year.

  • PowerTryp

    I strictly have a cell phone but I had a need for a land line when my last cell died and I had to call my provider to switch to my new one. That said Skype saved my ass cause 1800 #s are free to call on it.

  • tonyola

    I haven't had a landline since 2007. My cellphone is my primary phone and my internet is via cable.

  • mr. mzs zsm msz esq

    It's too expensive to call between Poland and USA on a cellphone and VOIP has too much delay even when the sound quality is adequate and the echo cancellation is working, so we have a phone, though it's cordless. I have never had a cellphone, my wife does though. It's a combination of my being cheap and my not wanting to be bothered.

  • I've been all wireless for over 10 years now. When I first moved to Michigan in 1999, I got me a little apartment and signed up with SBC for phone service. I already had an Earthlink account with which to get online and dial up, at the time, was still mainstream. About a year later, cable internet was being offered for very cheap (something like $20/month for the first 2 years), and cell phones were all the rage. So, being the analytical type that I am, I compared what I was spending per month on phone ($70+ for long distance to the parental units) and internet ($30 or whatever it was for Earthlink) and compared it to cell ($40 including long distance) and cable internet ($45 even after the initial deal expired). I would come out ahead ditching the land line and going with a cell and faster internet. It was a no-brainer.

  • RichardKopf

    Perhaps it is just me, but I am always leery of businesses that do not have any landlines. Cell phones are just too mobile, I guess. Maybe I am just getting old.

  • Mad_Hungarian

    As long as there are dropped calls and power failures, there will be a need/demand for landlines. I've often thought that if we had somehow developed wireless telephones first, some modern day Alexander Graham Bell would come along and say "Y'know, those things would work a whole hell of a lot better if we connected all of them by wires."

  • ptschett

    I never owned a cell phone till a month ago.* I'm planning to keep the home landline for a while yet… I'm getting it on a bundled plan with my DSL, plus like OA5599 said the ergonomics are better.

    *I got an iPhone 4 (Verizon). My coworkers are all like "LOL you went from no phone [sic] to an iPhone" for some reason… what, was I supposed to start with a RAZR?

  • SSurfer321

    I haven't had a landline since I lived with my parents, over 8 years ago. Now I just installed one into the house in Toledo, only so the new alarm system could be monitored. Otherwise I have no use for one.

  • Alff

    We cut the cord a couple years ago. Even with three kids in the house, it hasn't been a difficult transition.

    If you're looking for a good deal in wireless, you ought to explore prepaid options. Not sure about the 51st state, but in the other 50 they offer relative bargains. You may even get a discounted device, although the discount will likely be smaller.

    • McQueen

      Hey wait I thought you guys were the next Territory ?

      • Alff

        You wouldn't want that. We speak English. I doubt Canadians would support a third national language.

  • K5ING

    I've had a land-line my whole life, and the same number since 1984. I just disconnected about a month ago after all of that time. The only calls I'll miss are from the bill collectors. We'll see how it works out.