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Landline Holders Increasingly Older, More Affluent

kdawson posted more than 7 years ago | from the untethered dept.

Communications 616

netbuzz writes "More than a quarter of the under-30 crowd has decided you only need one telephone — and it sure as heck does not plug into a wall. The trend towards an all-mobile lifestyle is accelerating, according to a new survey. Besides younger people, lower-income people are also more likely to have cut the cord. And while businesses may be a bit slower on the cell-only uptake, there appears to be little doubt at this point that the traditional landline will be joining rotary dials and party lines as a relic of the telecommunications industry."

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Kind of a concern (2, Interesting)

Kittenman (971447) | more than 7 years ago | (#19125495)

.. really. I use service, reliability and cost to determine whether I go wireless or not. It's not how sexy the ads are. Maybe the article is saying that under-30s are more susceptible to advertising?

Oh yeah, I'm over 30. So what.

Re:Kind of a concern (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19125535)

Perhaps its a realization that if I have to carry a cell phone for other reasons I don't need to also pay for a land line.

Re:Kind of a concern (1)

dexomn (147950) | more than 7 years ago | (#19125569)

Most "beigeboxers" are also over 30 now, some assisted by wheelchairs. It's far less common these days so you probably have nothing to worry about.

Re:Kind of a concern (5, Interesting)

Osty (16825) | more than 7 years ago | (#19125577)

.. really. I use service, reliability and cost to determine whether I go wireless or not. It's not how sexy the ads are. Maybe the article is saying that under-30s are more susceptible to advertising?

I'm just barely under 30 (I'll be turning 29 in a couple months), and I've been landline-free since shortly after purchasing a home in 2003. I found that the extra ~$25/mo for a landline was completely wasted since I

  • Never used it
  • Didn't need it for DSL or Tivo
  • Rarely made any phone calls while at home
  • The only people calling me on it were phone spam for charities and crap
For me, it made financial sense to save the extra $25/mo I was paying for basic service. My cell works just about everywhere, including Canada (though I have to roam, which I'm fine with as I rarely go to Canada), I always have it on me, and the $40/mo plan I'm on gives me 1000 minutes a month with free, unlimited nights and weekends. However, I'm also an anomoly in terms of phone usage for my age group. I spend an average of < 30 minutes a month on the phone, as most of my calls generally sound something like, "Hey it's me. Yeah, I'll see you in a few minutes." I upgraded to a RAZR last fall, but otherwise I keep my phones for several years. I've been month-to-month on my current plan since 2002 when my initial contract expired, and I'd rather pay for my own phone than re-up a contract to get a "free" phone.

Personally, I couldn't go back to using a landline. It's a useless technology for me, and as long as I have cell coverage I'm happy.

Re:Kind of a concern (4, Insightful)

futuresheep (531366) | more than 7 years ago | (#19125655)

We thought the same thing until we had two periods this year with no cell service for a minimum of three days each. One was due to storms and flooding, the other was due to wind storms. Because we live a bit outside of our metro area, we were among the last to have cell service restored. We had relatives that had no way of contacting us to see if we were OK. No cell, no cable modem, no dial up because we didn't have a landline. Landlines were still working BTW, this was verified by a few people in town we talked to later on. So now, we pay $16.00/month for a landline, if only for the added security of being able to call 911 if we need to, and to be able to let our family know everything is OK. Landlines still have a place in this world, sometimes it takes an emergency to remember what that is.

Re:Kind of a concern (3, Informative)

Osty (16825) | more than 7 years ago | (#19125823)

We thought the same thing until we had two periods this year with no cell service for a minimum of three days each. One was due to storms and flooding, the other was due to wind storms. Because we live a bit outside of our metro area, we were among the last to have cell service restored. We had relatives that had no way of contacting us to see if we were OK. No cell, no cable modem, no dial up because we didn't have a landline. Landlines were still working BTW, this was verified by a few people in town we talked to later on. So now, we pay $16.00/month for a landline, if only for the added security of being able to call 911 if we need to, and to be able to let our family know everything is OK. Landlines still have a place in this world, sometimes it takes an emergency to remember what that is.

Interesting. We had a huge windstorm this past winter. I was without power for a week, and had friends who were without for nearly two. During that entire time, my cell phone continued to work perfectly. I used my car to keep the battery charged.

Your experience prompted you to get a landline. Mine has prompted me to buy a generator, though I'm waiting for a few more months when prices will be the lowest (we don't get power outages here in the summer, since it's not hot enough for people to overload circuits with A/C units). If anything, I came out of the experience with a more favorable impression of cell phones, as there's no way I would've been able to keep my old portable phone charged up that long and I couldn't take that out to my car to charge off the engine.

Re:Kind of a concern (1)

futuresheep (531366) | more than 7 years ago | (#19125871)

We had a huge windstorm this past winter. I was without power for a week, and had friends who were without for nearly two.

It wouldn't suprise me if we live in the same area.

During that entire time, my cell phone continued to work perfectly. I used my car to keep the battery charged.

I live in a rural area, we have fewer towers to lock onto, and I was told by my wireless company that service would be restored according trouble tickets and population density.

Your experience prompted you to get a landline. Mine has prompted me to buy a generator, though I'm waiting for a few more months when prices will be the lowest (we don't get power outages here in the summer, since it's not hot enough for people to overload circuits with A/C units). If anything, I came out of the experience with a more favorable impression of cell phones, as there's no way I would've been able to keep my old portable phone charged up that long and I couldn't take that out to my car to charge off the engine.

We went opposite directions then. In a few years we're upgrading to a 16kW natural gas standby. Our landline phone isn't cordless though, no fear of having to recharge it.

Re:Kind of a concern (1)

Osty (16825) | more than 7 years ago | (#19125965)

It wouldn't suprise me if we live in the same area.

Seattle area? I'm near the lake, on the north eastside. My power was out so long because the local transfer station actually blew and had to be replaced with all new equipment. If it wasn't for that, the few fallen trees would've been cleaned up in a day or two.

Woodinville got it much harder, but they're very prone to power outages in that area for some reason (all the area power lines are above ground, but Woodinville's seem to be more vulnerable than other areas). Friends I had there were out of power for two weeks, and still had some trees threatening to fall on fixed power lines even after power was restored. Friends up in the Snohomish portion of Bothell had power restored within hours, because Snohomish County PUD doesn't suck like PSE (of course, they also had several million fewer powerless customers than PSE).

In a few years we're upgrading to a 16kW natural gas standby.

I'm looking at doing the same, except as an initial purchase rather than an upgrade. I figure there's no point in buying a small portable generator when I'd eventually want to upgrade to a standby unit anyway. I'm not sure I'm going to go for 16kW, but I'll definitely be getting an automatic-switching standby unit rather than a portable.

Re:Kind of a concern (4, Informative)

znu (31198) | more than 7 years ago | (#19125851)

You should be able to call 911 on any landline that's physically connected, even if you don't pay for landline service.

Re:Kind of a concern (3, Interesting)

Doogie5526 (737968) | more than 7 years ago | (#19125875)

Yeah, but at events like Cochella they can bring out mobile cell towers so people can get temporary service in the middle of the desert. Why can't this be achieved during emergencies too? When I lived in FL we lost power/phone after a hurricane it took a couple weeks to get service back (who knows how many buried/tangled lines they had to repair). For emergency service it sounds a lot easier to strategically place a few vans all over the town while restoring the local infrastructure.

Re:Kind of a concern (1)

ElectricRook (264648) | more than 7 years ago | (#19125795)

I spend an average of 30 minutes a month on the phone

I have the same idea about phones, only about 30 minutes a month. When I finally switched from my old "big bag" analog phone (jus in March), I went for T-Mobile minutes only. I bought a RAZR for $160, and 1000 minutes for $100. I used about ~300 minutes in the first month, but dropped down a lot since then. What I like, is the flat rate ten cents a minute. So the first month was about $30, but much lower since. It's a lot less than $40 per month... Just my ten cents...

Re:Kind of a concern (2, Insightful)

Doogie5526 (737968) | more than 7 years ago | (#19125891)

One thing I do hate about cell phones is the quality of service is a lot lower. It's a big reason I don't have as many long phone conversations. I hate worrying about battery, signal quality, and if they heard what I'm saying.

Re:Kind of a concern (5, Insightful)

vux984 (928602) | more than 7 years ago | (#19125639)

Its nothing to do with susceptability to advertising... the fact that its lower income, and under 30 makes perfect sense.

Everybody likes the convenience of a cellphone... the younger you are the more conversant with technology you are, so you are more likely to have one. If you only have one phone - older people will have landlines, younger people will have cellphones. Just as in 1990 younger people embraced computer word processors while many older people still used typewriters.

No surprise there.

As for landlines being skewed against low-income its simple. If you can only afford one phone (or only wish to afford one phone) the mobile is infinitely more flexible. If I had to choose between cutting my landline (ok ok voip line) or cellular bill, it would be a no brainer - the landline would go.

So no surprise there either.

In my case the only reason I have even a voip line in addition to a cell is I run a small business and wanted an 'office line'. The voip bundles free N.A. long distance, good intl rates, caller id, voicemail, and some pretty decent call management features all for a price less than what I used to pay for landline.

Re:Kind of a concern (2, Interesting)

Simon Garlick (104721) | more than 7 years ago | (#19125695)

The article could be rephrased as "younger poorer people tend not to own homes at which landlines are installed".

Like, duh.

Re:Kind of a concern (1)

sfled (231432) | more than 7 years ago | (#19125785)

Interesting. My own thought was what percentage of under-30s have boomeranged back to (or never left) the 'rents house, and so have the POTS available whenever the cell bill ain't paid up...

Good for them, but... (1)

adona1 (1078711) | more than 7 years ago | (#19125497)

I'd like to get rid of the landline, but unfortunately cable & wireless is still rather poor here in Australia. Mobiles are all well and good, but I wub my interwebs too much to stop paying the line rental.

you don't need phone service on your landline (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19125717)

I assume this is the case for you, as the thread is about phones. To spell it out for you, You don't need phone service to use the same copper cable for dsl service. They have nothing to do with each other. I know people who have their internet connectivity from company A and phone service from company B. Personally, I have a GSM and aDSL on my landline without phoneservice. If the ISP is telling you that you must have a phonesubscription to get dsl service, you call Bullshit!

m10

Re:you don't need phone service on your landline (3, Interesting)

fabs64 (657132) | more than 7 years ago | (#19125809)

Do you live in Aus? and if you do, how, unlike the rest of the country, are you getting away with not paying the telstra tax?

Here telstra owns the landlines, to use them for ANYTHING you have to pay line rental, the cheapest way to pay line rental is a basic telstra home phone service.

Re:you don't need phone service on your landline (2, Informative)

Kabal` (111455) | more than 7 years ago | (#19125813)

Unfortunately, here in Australia you *do* need a phone service on your line to get an ADSL connection, because Telstra are idiots.

Re:you don't need phone service on your landline (1)

Oscar_Wilde (170568) | more than 7 years ago | (#19125941)

For quite a few people in Australia you do need to pay line rental if you want internet access. There's a lot of old pair gain [wikipedia.org] telephone infrastructure down under so you can't have ADSL at all in some places.
 
As others have pointed out there's also the issue of Telstra, who own most of the copper, being run by a bunch of jerks in suits.

Businesses... (3, Interesting)

setirw (854029) | more than 7 years ago | (#19125501)

Hmm... the article mentioned businesses switching exclusively to mobile services.

It would be interesting if a wireless carrier introduced PBX-esque switching and operation. If service is good enough (a factor I'd assume holds most people back from ditching the land line), I'm sure a lot of small businesses would forgo a PBX-based telephone for a more easily set-up wireless based system.

I'd certainly get a cell phone with blinky lights that indicate a call coming through on line three! :-)

How about VoIP + wireless? (4, Interesting)

khasim (1285) | more than 7 years ago | (#19125651)

We can do both already. It's just a matter of keeping the airspace clean enough for the radio waves to travel.

And THAT is why it will be a while before businesses get rid of their lines. You want the cleanest voice connections you can get. Yo don nt c st m rs o ha e t dea ith al s re ki g p.

Re:Businesses... (1)

el_flynn (1279) | more than 7 years ago | (#19125697)

It would be interesting if a wireless carrier introduced PBX-esque switching and operation.


I think most providers are reluctant to do this because with traditional PBX setups, there are no issues when a staff leaves or is fired, other than reprogramming his/her extension, deleting stale voicemail etc. With a carrier-based solution (a-la centrex services), wouldn't it be a nightmare for them to have to do this all the time? Especially with the larger-scale corporations?

When the choice is between SW Bell and Cellular (1)

lena_10326 (1100441) | more than 7 years ago | (#19125503)

You go with cellular. I did this in '00. Won't go back.

Mobility over quality (4, Interesting)

redelm (54142) | more than 7 years ago | (#19125509)

I've used cellphone for a _very_ long time (starting with radiophones in the 1980s). The voice quality is seldom good enough for a personal conversation which depends on tone-of-voice. Yes, I'm aware there are some services that are remarkably good. Most are not, and render a phone little better than a walkie-talkie.

That's fine if that's what you value. Me, after many stubborn years, I've learned the fine art of the two hour phone call. And that takes a quality phone line where you can hear the other party breathe. Otherwise, it's just multitasking distractions. Yuck. I do too much of that at work to want to run my personal life that way.

Re:Mobility over quality (1)

Kamokazi (1080091) | more than 7 years ago | (#19125685)

Unless you live in remote areas where you can only get analog coverage, your call quality will really depend on the phone. My LG VX4400 was a little sub-par, but my Motorola v710 and now Motorola K1m generally sound better or indistinguishable from a landline.

The best voice quality I've found comes from talking to some of my friends over Skype...as long as the bandwidth is there, it sounds much better than a regular phone or cellular phone. A little tinny, but other than that it sounds like they're in the room with you. When I was at college, my roommates often thought I had someone in my room with me (they hadn't figured out I was a geek and didn't have any friends that were not on the internet...)

Re:Mobility over quality (1, Flamebait)

saleenS281 (859657) | more than 7 years ago | (#19125747)

Or perhaps you just need to break up/stop talking with the psycho that's causing you to have continuous *personal* 2 hour phone calls at the age of??? That was cool when I was 16, then I grew up.

Re:Mobility over quality (4, Insightful)

tverbeek (457094) | more than 7 years ago | (#19125789)

"there appears to be little doubt at this point that the traditional landline will be joining rotary dials and party lines as a relic of the telecommunications industry"
Only when/if they fix the inherent problems that currently plague wireless telecom. If you care about being able to hear and be heard, and for your phone to Just Work when you want it to (rather than being dependent on how the ionosphere's behaving today and battery charge), there are still good reasons for holding onto a landline. Wire has benefits that - in many situations - outweigh the benefits of wireless.

Yes, I am over 30... thanks for asking. I'm a member of the "hear a pin drop" generation of telephony users, whose standards appear to be a bit higher than the kids', and who just might have a bit of perspective that the under-30 set has yet to achieve. Don't get me wrong: I have and use a cell phone. But I have and use a landline more often, because I've come to depend on the features it offers... and which wireless does not.

Maybe the teens of today will change their standards when their hearing starts to deteriorate. Maybe they'll just never know what they're missing... and not miss it. I don't know. But I do know that you'll have to pry my wired handset from my cold, dead fingers. And I don't plan for that to happen for another 40-50 years.

I'm in that category (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19125511)

"More than a quarter of the under-30 crowd has decided you only need one telephone -- and it sure as heck does not plug into a wall.

I'm in that category - I own a mobile, but unfortunately, here in Australia, you need to rent a landline from the monopoly PSTN provider (Telstra) if you want to have broadband internet (ADSL anyway).

So I have a landline I never use.

God they're filthy (Telstra) - hopefully we'll have a change of Government soon & get rid of the current spineless Prime Minister John Howard - who can't stand up to Telstra.

Re:I'm in that category (3, Insightful)

fabs64 (657132) | more than 7 years ago | (#19125821)

Can't really blame telstra, a company does that, tries to make money.

Blame the silver-spooners for selling our goddamned infrastructure.
The only thing worse than a public monopoly is a private one, and we don't need multiple networks.

Re:I'm in that category (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19125957)

Can't really blame telstra, a company does that, tries to make money.

Bullshit. We can blame Telstra and the silver spooners.

Do you really think we should ignore a corporation's behaviour - no matter how unethical or extreme simply because they want to make money?

Dumbass.

Broadband (1)

teh moges (875080) | more than 7 years ago | (#19125513)

I am not sure about anywhere else in the world, or even if the technology demands it, but in Australia, you need a landline to get broadband. That is the only reason that alot of people I know still have a landline (and paying $AU20 a month for it). Other then that, my mobile trumps home phone everytime. It's alot better for me, as I am rarely home (and yes, I am under 30).

Same in the US (1)

transporter_ii (986545) | more than 7 years ago | (#19125681)

Only it isn't just broadband, there are tons of people stuck on dial-up that hate it, but have no other choice.

I'm one of them. Too far out for DSL or wireless, and my only choices are very slow dial-up or satellite. Now I would love to ditch the phone and just use my work cell phone, but I'm not sure about satellite. I've just heard so many bad things. Heck, I even used to work for a satellite dealer, and I hated our demo...but I have heard they have made some improvements since I did that.

Transporter_ii

Re:Broadband (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19125721)

Only if you want to go ADSL - if you go cable, you don't need the landline. (Of course, Australia's cable providers are limited to just two: Optus and Telstra ... both of which are overpriced for what you get.)

The really fun thing is that, if you want ADSL, Telstra's terms and conditions force you to get the $27/month line rental option - the $20/month has a restriction limiting you to Telstra's (and only Telstra's) services.

Bunch of overpriced bastards, they are ... and they have the gall to claim that the government is holding back their broadband rollout!

Re:Broadband (1)

fabs64 (657132) | more than 7 years ago | (#19125839)

Not to nitpick, but only a fairly negligible amount of the population has access to cable.

Re:Broadband (1)

DreadfulGrape (398188) | more than 7 years ago | (#19125975)

Not so (if you are referring to the US). Cable is available to more than 90% of the U.S. population. Most of those cable providers are also ISP's.

"The majority of American television viewers get their signal from CATV," i.e. cable TV (Wikipedia).

Re:Broadband (1)

ralmin (459495) | more than 7 years ago | (#19125861)

The really fun thing is that, if you want ADSL, Telstra's terms and conditions force you to get the $27/month line rental option - the $20/month has a restriction limiting you to Telstra's (and only Telstra's) services.

That's not true. Here in Adelaide we're on the basic $20/month line rental and we have ADSL on it. The ADSL is not through Telstra's equipment. It's on Adam Direct [adam.com.au] .

Re:Broadband (1)

TapeCutter (624760) | more than 7 years ago | (#19125757)

You need the copper for DSL, but I hate the fact that I have to pay for a landline phone. I recently moved from a house to a unit in Melbourne, at the house I had TV and web access via cable, but neither Optus or Telstra will connect cable to a unit.

Bandwidth? (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19125515)

Correct me if I'm wrong. If phone lines aren't hampered with having to carry voice communications, will DSL be able to grab more bandwidth?

Re:Bandwidth? (2, Informative)

azenpunk (1080949) | more than 7 years ago | (#19125765)

no.

that's sort of like saying that if blue light stops shining, won't red light get brighter? (not to be condescending)

the phone calls and the dsl signal are handled by completely different machinery inside the central offices.

except for the splitter in the DSLAM that overlays the two signals (at two very different frequency ranges) on the same wire it's all separate. the internet traffic goes through the DSLAM and up/out through a DS3 or OC3, while the plain old phone (POTS) traffic gets directed through the switches where it gets dial tone.

if this doesn make sense, write the newcastle importer to complain.

Re:Bandwidth? (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19125853)

Couldn't you run an analog modem and DSL concurrently? hmmmm. I can't think of anyone who has tried but it seems like DSL customers can log in POTS style. I guess you would have to bridge the connections too and then the telco would eventually notice you were logged in twice. It would be kinda pointless for the extra 5kbps although I would probably do it just to keep the phone from ringing - the only perk of having dialup.

Re:Bandwidth? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19125961)

not really, voice takes up 0 => 4Khz of the spectrum.
low frequencies are not that useful for fast data transmission, great for distance tough.

adsl 138Khz => 1.1Mhz
adsl2 +-130Khz =>2.2Mhz
vdsl 138Khz => 12Mhz

Party lines? (1)

nmoog (701216) | more than 7 years ago | (#19125521)

I remember reading the term "Party Line" in Mad magazine. That lead me to believe that it was some kind of telephonic swingers service. Following the link from the article I'm even more confused than ever! What the heck is a party line?!!

Re:Party lines? (3, Informative)

setirw (854029) | more than 7 years ago | (#19125579)

A single telephone line that serves more than one customer. Most often used in rural areas where it's not economical to install multiple lines. Privacy is nonexistent and I'd assume congestion is high.

Re:Party lines? (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19125585)

Party lines died out in the 60s, I believe. Back in the day, it was easier for the phone company to run a single pair through an entire block of houses. So if you had a party line, it basically meant that you and your neighbors shared extensions. Everyone had their own telephone number, and the phones would ring differently based on which number was dialed.

Needless to say this meant that every time you wanted to place a call, you'd risk interrupting your neighbors' conversations. It was cheaper to hook residential phones up this way, but obviously most people preferred to pay a bit more for their own line.

Re:Party lines? (1)

IANAAC (692242) | more than 7 years ago | (#19125915)

When I was a kid we had a party line at our cabin in Wisconsin, shared among 6 other cabins.

My grandmother LOVED it.

The phone would ring. She would wait until the ringing stopped. Then pick up the phone to listen.

I would say "Grandma, quit being so nosey".

She would say "I'm not nosey. I'm informed."

The line was noisy enough that noone would notice she was listening in (or hear me tell my grandma she was being nosey, for that matter).

Re:Party lines? (1)

bladesjester (774793) | more than 7 years ago | (#19125587)

Party lines were lines on which multiple houses were on the same phone line.

They were common in rural areas until the mid to late 80's even though most towns and cities had moved away from them long before then (which kind of puts them in the same league as telephone company-owned phones).

I remember the farm my family owns still being on a party line when I was visiting my grandmother there as a kid (and I'm under 30). I was very glad when the phone company changed all of that - the other woman on that line was a pain in the rear and yelled at you whenever you needed to make a call.

Re:Party lines? (1)

EmbeddedJanitor (597831) | more than 7 years ago | (#19125617)

Multiple phones hanging off one set of copper.

Cons: Only one phone could have a conversation at a time since the copper is shared. Needs seperate ring patterns so you know who needs to answer.

Pros: You can answer your phone if visiting next door if they're on the same party line. You can make "local calls" to others on the party line without going through the exchange.

Re:Party lines? (4, Informative)

mrchaotica (681592) | more than 7 years ago | (#19125671)

A party line is a single telephone line that you share with your neighbors. They were common in rural areas of the U.S. before WWII, probably becuase they were cheaper than dedicated phone lines (remember, back then each line was on a different physical circuit, and calls were switched by human operators).

Re:Party lines? (1)

epiphani (254981) | more than 7 years ago | (#19125917)

Odd, my grandparents in rural northern ontario had a party line until a few years ago.

Each one had a different telephone number and they had their own distinct ring for each number, but it was the same copper pair in each of the four homes on the line.

I don't think they went out of service as long ago as you think.

Re:Party lines? (2, Interesting)

Sanat (702) | more than 7 years ago | (#19125737)

When I was a kid we were on a party line with eight other families. If you wanted to use the telephone you would pick up the receiver and listen for someone talking or listen for the dial tone and then dial the number.

One had to be very careful what was said as often other neighbors would listen in on a conversation. Most conversations were brief and old people still have brief conversations from habit even though they might have a dedicated line today.

Our telephone number was 226.

If an emergency was occurring and other people were talking on the party line then you told them that it was an emergency and they would hang up so you could dial.

One needed to practice good citizenship but it seemed that each family had their own opinion of what that constituted.

Can you imagine... (-1)

Patrick Bateman (175284) | more than 7 years ago | (#19125523)

... a Beowulf cluster of these?

Cutting the cord (5, Interesting)

Z0mb1eman (629653) | more than 7 years ago | (#19125537)

I probably would have cut the cord a long time ago, but every time I start looking at cell phone plans, I just get mad. Especially with the various taxes that are always listed separately. Look, I don't care if you have to pay this tax, that fee, your company's hydro bill or for your CEO's lunches, just tell me what the bloody thing costs.

Besides, don't DSL companies still charge you the $10 or so for a landline?

Anyone care to suggest a cell phone provider in Toronto that won't get my blood pressure up (too much? :p)

Re:Cutting the cord (2, Interesting)

david614 (10051) | more than 7 years ago | (#19125611)

I would cut the cord, but my broadband internet access is delivered via dsl. As this is quite a common situation (in the US and elsewhere) reports of the death of landline phones may be a little premature.

Re:Cutting the cord (1)

Malc (1751) | more than 7 years ago | (#19125909)

This chap's in Toronto - he can get "dry DSL". That's DSL without a dial tone. Don't blame him for not wanted to with the utterly shit Rogers (only major GSM provider) or Bell/Telus (major POTS telcos with backwards N. American vendor-lock technology).

Re:Cutting the cord (1)

Evil Pete (73279) | more than 7 years ago | (#19125919)

In fact this is why I got a landline. I don't want to pay for TV I don't watch and that will distract my kids, and I don't want wireless because I don't trust it.

Re:Cutting the cord (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19125667)

If you're not a teenager or self absorbed jackass with a phone glued to your ear, try checking out prepaid plans. The fee structure is straightforward and it can be far more economical.

good (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19125555)

In the US, the land line thing has been a racket for many decades.....

Sure, they shelled out for the copper run all over the place.....decades ago. For that, I have no problem with them getting a cookie.....until about 1965.

How do you handle guests and extensions? (4, Insightful)

jbarr (2233) | more than 7 years ago | (#19125559)

OK, I admit that I never caught the cell phone bug. I have one, but it's provided by work, so what model I have is their choice. I got one for my wife for emergencies and occasional use, and we talk with each other on it, but that's about all.

So how do you handle extensions? You know, someone calls you, and you want to say, "Honey, pick up an extension." so you can talk together. Do you just 3-way the call?

And how do you handle guests? Do you simply assume that if they want to make a call, they just use their own cell phone?

I certainly have nothing against cell phones, I jut never really felt a pressing need.

Oh, and how do you handle devices that need to "dial home" periodically? (ReplayTV box, DirecTV box, etc.)

Re:How do you handle guests and extensions? (2, Informative)

Osty (16825) | more than 7 years ago | (#19125643)

So how do you handle extensions? You know, someone calls you, and you want to say, "Honey, pick up an extension." so you can talk together. Do you just 3-way the call?

Put the phone on speaker.

And how do you handle guests? Do you simply assume that if they want to make a call, they just use their own cell phone?

Yes. Or they can use my cell if they must, but I'd rather they use their cell. That's what I do when I'm a guest, so why should I do otherwise for guests of mine?

Oh, and how do you handle devices that need to "dial home" periodically? (ReplayTV box, DirecTV box, etc.)

Use the interweb. A long time ago, I had a cable box that required a phone line. That requirement was removed soon after. Similarly, my Tivo needed a landline for its very first setup, but everything after that just works over the internet. If I hadn't had a landline when I setup my Tivo, I'd have just taken it to a friend's house and set it up there first.

Re:How do you handle guests and extensions? (5, Funny)

larry bagina (561269) | more than 7 years ago | (#19125771)

yes, you just ask your wife for a 3-way. Preferably when you've had a little too much wine, are watching a porno, she's looking at some other guy, commenting on the babysitters's ass, etc. Make it seem like it's her idea, and for her benefit As far as guests go, it's best to start off with her (or him) just doing oral, so it's not threatening.

Re:How do you handle guests and extensions? (1)

mshurpik (198339) | more than 7 years ago | (#19125913)

>So how do you handle extensions? You know, someone calls you, and you want to say, "Honey, pick up an extension."

I must have been corrupted by cells because I had to stare at that sentence for a minute before I realized what you meant.

All good points.

Biggest problem with cell phones is reliability of getting calls. If you forget to take your phone, forget to charge it, forget to turn it on, there's no warning that you're now off the grid. It's a little pet that needs constant care.

How long till the telemarketers get their hooks in (4, Interesting)

dswensen (252552) | more than 7 years ago | (#19125561)

I converted to cell-only not because I'm always on the go or because of any cachet, but to avoid the constant barrage of telemarketer and solicitation calls I received at my land line. Getting on the "do not call" list was only marginally successful; most of the telemarketers who kept calling claimed they were exempt for some reason or another. It was a constant annoyance, and still the #1 reason I refuse to get a land line again.

If we do go all-cellular, I wonder if the legislation about telemarketers being unable to call cell phones would change. I'm praying it won't -- I've been enjoying the peace and quiet, quite frankly.

Re:How long till the telemarketers get their hooks (1)

Z0mb1eman (629653) | more than 7 years ago | (#19125607)

What about calls from your cell phone service provider, trying to sell you cell phone service? Almost everyone I know gets those... (I wish I were kidding)

Re:How long till the telemarketers get their hooks (1)

linzeal (197905) | more than 7 years ago | (#19125735)

I've never had any on sprint in almost 10 years of service.

Re:How long till the telemarketers get their hooks (1)

SeaFox (739806) | more than 7 years ago | (#19125959)

I think I've only had two on t-Mobile. And after talking to the sales rep about the kind of customer I am (the kind who gets off contract and STAYS off, buying replacement phones unsubsidized) I never got called again. I also took the opportunity to make a few complaints the salesmen didn't have a response for. I think I'm on some unofficial "don't bother trying" list now. :-)

Re:How long till the telemarketers get their hooks (1)

Nefarious Wheel (628136) | more than 7 years ago | (#19125629)

Yes -- the big advantage of a mobile phone over a land line for me is you can turn a mobile off when you need some sleep.

Land lines are a huge revenue earner for the telcos, but it's not seen as a growth area. Cell phones and Enterprise VoIP are where they're going.

Re:How long till the telemarketers get their hooks (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19125763)

If you are too dumb to figure out how to turn off your land line when you "need some sleep", you need a dope slap not "some sleep".

Re:How long till the telemarketers get their hooks (1)

Professor Fate (1075913) | more than 7 years ago | (#19125937)

Same here.

The telemarketeers stole my land line. I was getting more calls from them than calls I wanted and had gotten to the point of ignoring my land line most of the time anyway. Soon enough, my friends realized I would almost always answer the cell phone and rarely answered the land line. After a couple of months of that, it just seemed silly to keep paying for the phone that only rang when telemarketers called.

Paul McNamara, I suggest you get a different job. (4, Insightful)

Futurepower(R) (558542) | more than 7 years ago | (#19125575)

Paul McNamara, I suggest you get a different job. I suppose you were paid for the nonsense you wrote.

Cell phones are nowhere near as reliable as land lines, and all VOIP phones are worse. Not only that, but cell phone providers and VOIP providers save money by being unreliable, and there is no evidence that they plan to change their behavior.

I think you know this. That makes your lies fraud, in my opinion.

I guess your handlers call themselves NetBuzz because they think they are good at advertising. But they aren't. They and you are just liars, in my opinion.

Everyone who needs reliable telephone service has land lines, and there is no evidence that will change in the near future.

Anyhow, we don't want your kind corrupting our discussions of technology on Slashdot. Stay away.

VoIP is unreliable... (1)

SCPRedMage (838040) | more than 7 years ago | (#19125713)

...becaust the Internet is unreliable.

Have a nice day.

Re:Paul McNamara, I suggest you get a different jo (1)

Lehk228 (705449) | more than 7 years ago | (#19125879)

spoken like a true ILEC representative

My VoIP experience has been great. (2, Interesting)

IANAAC (692242) | more than 7 years ago | (#19125981)

Want to know why?

Speakeasy (my provider) assures decent QoS. Of course it still relies on a solid internet connection - and that's absolutely what it's been for me with Speakeasy in the 4+ years I've been with them.

I realize not all VoIP providers do this, but if you're willing to do a bit of investigation, you'll find that there are a few companies that do provide it. They won't be cheap, but if you're tired of the crap customer service provided by the Bells (the new AT&T), it's a decent, valid option.

Landline free (1)

hansamurai (907719) | more than 7 years ago | (#19125583)

I haven't owned a landline in almost five years now. Even now that my wife and I live in another state, we still have our original cell phone numbers , which is a little awkward when giving our phone numbers to businesses as we have totally different area codes, but I don't think twice about it when giving my number out to a friend or coworker. The only reason I can see us getting a landline is for when we have kids and they have a 911 emergency or something. I know 911 cell phone calls are advanced, but I would just feel better knowing it was being placed by a landline.

Re:Landline free (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19125979)

You sort of skate around one of the issues we have had without your coming out and saying it. What do you do if you have kids? Let's say you and your wife both have your own private mobile phones. If both of you go out for dinner and leave the kids with the baby sitter, do you take both your phones, leave one at home? Do you get an extra line just for this situation? I don't know. It seems like you kind of have to have a land line so that the baby sitter can call you or 911 in an emergency.

And then, what about a home security system? The system has to have a way to contact the monitoring company. So there again, you need a land line.

I'd ditch my land line in a second if I could solve both of these issues.

Land lines makes no sense anymore (1)

JimboFBX (1097277) | more than 7 years ago | (#19125589)

Thanks to good 'ol taxes that bump the price up to 25 bucks a month, then the fact cell phones have that "when your car breaks down" or "I have an emergency" convience that almost makes them a requirement, it makes no sense to not have a cell phone. And if you have a cell phone, why pay extra for the landline? The only reason not to have a cell phone really is if you absolutely cannot afford them (which is nobody in the US except for the homeless) or if your scared of them (which is surprisingly more than you might think).

LOL WUT (1)

heptapod (243146) | more than 7 years ago | (#19125605)

Can someone explain why the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention did a survey on cellular phone usage? Did they read Stephen King's Cell and take it seriously?

Re:LOL WUT (1)

mdboyd (969169) | more than 7 years ago | (#19125729)

Please don't make fun of cellulitis. It's a serious disease among those under 30. Symptoms include vomiting, diarrhea, and "Livin' La Vita Loca" interrupting an important meeting.

Making the switch (1)

el_flynn (1279) | more than 7 years ago | (#19125645)

I've been contemplating for a long time to cut off the landline at home. Right now we're only using it for our broadband connection. We hardly ever get or make any phone calls using the line.

As celcos here in Malaysia are starting to provide more and better broadband options, I've recently been thinking about also terminating that broadband connection, and to go with what the celco is providing. There's one provider that has a 3G-based broadband service, which has double advantage for me -- on the go, I can surf/email on my mobile phone, and at home I can use the mobile as a modem connected via bluetooth/IR/whatever.

Right now I've heard great things about the service, but that's probably due to lack of uptake. Once more and more people jump on the bandwagon, it'd be interesting to see how the increase in usage affects connectivity speed.

Landlines are better (5, Insightful)

riker1384 (735780) | more than 7 years ago | (#19125649)

That is sensationalist crap, the thing about landlines being obselete. Maybe young students or people with apartments, but come on. There are huge advantages to a landline. It's more reliable and jamproof, and if you want an extra phone you pay $10 at the grocery store instead of hundreds (and repeating that every few years as they get obsolete). The voice quality is better and it doesn't run on freaking batteries. It's on the wall so you always know where it is and you don't lose it in the couch cushions. I can't imagine having a house without phones on the walls. What the hell do you do if you have kids and you have to hire a babysitter? Leave her your cellphone? Then what do you call home with? You can call her cellphone from yours but then there's still no number for the household, say if the neighbors want to tell you there's a fire next door or a prowler. And so on.

And businesses?? (1)

riker1384 (735780) | more than 7 years ago | (#19125759)

Businesses are not being "slow." If it's a business phone you want a phone attached to the freaking business and not in one person's pocket. Like, the front desk phone can be a landline phone that sits on the front desk, and whoever is running the fron desk can use that front-desk phone. It's really quite elegant. I don't know what you'd have, mabye a silver Motorola KRZR on one of those little ball-chains they keep pens on at the bank. I used to always steal those pens when I was a kid.

What? Can you repeat that? (5, Funny)

dekkerdreyer (1007957) | more than 7 years ago | (#19125653)

I ca 't wa t f r th en ire worl to be o c ll lar te eph nes. he ell lar s rvic an ca l q ali y ha gr dual y g tte wor e to th po nt t at m st of the ente ce ust e gu ssed ro c ntext.

I look forward to guessing the meaning of all my calls in the future

OH PLEASE (5, Insightful)

mdboyd (969169) | more than 7 years ago | (#19125661)

The business world has also seen an all-wireless trend - witness this project at Ford, for example - although the momentum there has been slower, no doubt because most businesses are run by people who are older than dirt.
I'm sorry but when an author makes a misleading and uninformative statement like this it's bad journalism, even if they're trying to be cute.

How about the slow adoption rate being because many businesses have their own PBXs and want to control their voice mail? For many companies, switching to wireless phones simply isn't a viable solution and probably won't be for a long time. Sure, they're more reliable than they used to be, but they're still not as reliable as POTS. Keeping track mobile phones may also be difficult. Example: My mom's work phone still had service over 6 months after she quit her job.

Additionally, many companies would probably be reluctant to outsource their voicemail for security and confidentiality purposes. Besides, do you really want to answer work calls wherever you go? Talk about taking your work home with you. Work phones should stay in the office. If employees want to answer calls on the road, maybe their employer should consider some kind of call forwarding functionality. Juggling multiple phones for home/work/etc is not something I'm interested in.

Not until coverage improves (2, Insightful)

Animats (122034) | more than 7 years ago | (#19125673)

I don't have decent cellular coverage in my house, and I live one mile from downtown Palo Alto in Silicon Valley. Five cellular stores (not counting the Apple store) within walking distance, and I have to go to a window to get more than one bar on the phone. Gigahertz RF doesn't go through trees, you know.

Rotary Phone Disorder (2, Insightful)

MillionthMonkey (240664) | more than 7 years ago | (#19125689)

Cellphones will not completely supplant POTS land lines for some time. I never use my cellphone if a real phone is around. The call quality is better, the calls are cheaper, and as far as battery issues are concerned there is just no comparison. You don't even need a battery at all with POTS. What makes POTS a pain in the ass is the separate monthly bill to pay, since most people now have a cellphone bill anyway. Plus, there is Rotary Phone Disorder to contend with. People get attached to the technologies they're familiar with, if they think they work well enough, and they won't want to waste time learning how newfangled technology works. Old people especially seem to get stuck to the form of telephony they're used to. My own grandmother was still using a rotary phone just a few years ago until I found her one of those art deco touch tone phones with the buttons in the same positions as the old rotary dial finger holes.

In South East Asia (1)

api_syurga (443557) | more than 7 years ago | (#19125691)


The article sounded like what we were around 5 to 6 years ago. Now everyone is expected to have mobiles from school kids to my grandmom (84 years old).

A prepaid subscription costs around RM8.90 (USD1.00 = RM3.8) with no obligation to stick to it. If you don't like the plan just throw the sim card away.

North American mobile networks suck (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19125693)

The single overriding factor why I will never ever use a mobile phone in North America is the dual-billing fiasco. I am Canadian who has been travelling all over the south pacific (NZ, Aus, Fiji, Vanuatu, New Caledonia, etc.) for the past few years. Every single mobile plan here is "caller pays". When I went back home I was shocked to see that not only was I paying to make calls, but I had to pay to receive calls. And, I had to pay a nice premium to use a pay-as-you-go service.

As one of my Aussie friends said when he visited Vancouver early this year, "I was a bit shocked to hear how rude people were on the phone". After I told him about the dual-billing, he realized that people were only trying to keep their conversations short.

Hmmm, does dual-billing actually keep people off their phones? I wonder how much money a company makes just by having credit expire because people are afraid of paying for receiving calls?

Voip? (1)

Mr. Flibble (12943) | more than 7 years ago | (#19125699)

Does VOIP count as cutting your landline? I just installed a VOIP-only Asterisk solution at work, and I am using the exact same setup here at home*. While I count as in the over 30 crowd, I have a cell phone, but I don't always carry it.

I think that POTS is dead, and just does not know it. There is a use to VOIP at home, and cell while you are away from home.

*(Now if I could just find a good FXO solution for my Asterisk Unslung NSLU2 at home... No, not for regular POTS.)

Poor Cell Signal = Landline For Me (5, Funny)

phalse phace (454635) | more than 7 years ago | (#19125725)

Until I can get a cell signal down here in my parents basement, I've got no choice but to use a landline.

*sigh*

Re:Poor Cell Signal = Landline For Me (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19125859)

Just make a passive relay. it might cost a bit for the cable, but it'll work.

Re:Poor Cell Signal = Landline For Me (2, Funny)

Dunbal (464142) | more than 7 years ago | (#19125983)

Until I can get a cell signal down here in my parents basement, I've got no choice but to use a landline.

      May I point out all the possibilities that you could enjoy by moving into the attic instead?

I cut the wire years ago (1)

pair-a-noyd (594371) | more than 7 years ago | (#19125733)

literally. I cut the wire at the back of my house/home office and let it fall then walked back to the pole and cut it again. I'm pissed off at SBC and I will NEVER have a land line again, ever. I already had a cell phone so I just changed my biz cards to show my cell number as my business number. I'm saving money and headaches, I never miss calls because I carry it with me everywhere and never power it down. Life is much easier this way, I only wish I had thought of doing this several years before, I could have saved a medium sized fortune in phone bills and would have enhanced my business abilities back when I really needed to be doing so.

This isn't for everyone of course but if you have a small business that you run from a home office it's the way to go. Just set specialized ring tones for your personal friends and a generic ring tone for unknown callers so you know who's calling, friends/family or customers.

Bad news, buddy... (1)

haaz (3346) | more than 7 years ago | (#19125899)

SBC (and Cingular) is now the "new" AT&T.

AT&T. Your World. Delivered. Straight to the NSA. [jabberwonk.com]

CDC Polls (1)

weinrich (414267) | more than 7 years ago | (#19125743)

I found it strange that the underlying article [yahoo.com] , from which McNamara quotes, goes on to say that the CDC's report also draws conclusions concerning this trend's potential impact on Political Polls.

That's a potential problem because people with only cell phones tend to be disproportionately young and have lower incomes. Studies have so far concluded that cell-phone-only users are not a large or diverse enough group to affect the accuracy of broad polls that omit them.

When was the last time anyone cared what a 'broad poll' had to say? It's the pointed, narrowly focused polls that drive people to action. Heck, even the very poll used by the CDC to generate this data from 14,000+ households was not a 'broad poll.'

I have to wonder what the heck the CDC was doing checking up on people's phone situation? Did they also ask about car ownership, house ownership, or if they owned a washer and dryer or used a laundramat on Saturdays?

Only appropriate (1)

bXTr (123510) | more than 7 years ago | (#19125777)

From the RSS feed, or as I call it, arsefeed, right below the article is an ad for AT&T.

Duh ... ? (1)

LoudMusic (199347) | more than 7 years ago | (#19125807)

This has to be the biggest "duh factor" /. post I've ever seen. We, as a people, tend to move toward new technology, discarding the old.

But it reminds me of two other posts which led to a purchase of mine.

http://slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=05/02/08/014221 8 [slashdot.org]

http://ask.slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=02/12/26/17 59210 [slashdot.org]

Just because you're not paying for land-line service doesn't mean those wires in your walls need to go to waste, nor do you need to put up with lousy cell signals in your home. I'd like to see this sort of capability be far more prevalent in newer phones but my wife and I have discovered it's not very popular among the hardware manufacturers.

VoiP included? (1)

Psx29 (538840) | more than 7 years ago | (#19125825)

I wonder if this study accounted for VoiP users as well for the sharp drop in regular landline users?

Oh noes! (1)

Elsan (914644) | more than 7 years ago | (#19125907)

Oh no! What will happen to those poor bees now!? WHAT! TELL ME! WHAT WILL HAPPEN OF THEM!!!

You can pry my landline... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19125947)

...from my cold dead hands.

Never thought I'd quote Heston on anything, but it's true when it comes to landlines.

Nothing beats a landline on quality and reliability. Even if those properties don't matter to you, most people save money with a landline anyway. So what if it costs $20/month? The benefit is that unlimited long distance on a landline only costs about $5/month. Try that on a wireless. That same $25/month if spent on wireless wouldn't last long for most people.

Early adopters vs. luddites (2, Interesting)

michaelmalak (91262) | more than 7 years ago | (#19125969)

I'm an early adopter for technology I want (home theater in 1988, camera phone in 2003, PDA phone in 2005, etc.) and a luddite for technology I need (taxes -- pencil and paper until this year; taking notes at work -- pencil and paper; home phone -- land line until VOIP can be powered from telephone line current).
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