Personal Finance, Saving Money

Think About Keeping Your Landline Phone

One of the more popular pieces of advice to save money these days is to get rid of your landline phone and rely only on your cell phone. This may work for some people, however it is not something that you should take as gospel without considering your own unique situation first. You may regret your decision if you don’t think it through.

First of all, cell phones are not always cheaper than land lines. Many financial gurus insist that they are, but not always. If you get sucked into an unlimited cell phone plan with data service, you could be paying upwards of $100 per month, whereas a basic landline service might just cost you $20 or so. The question you have to ask yourself is what do you really need? If you make a lot of long distance calls the cell might be cheaper since most plans include long distance with your minutes. However, if you don’t talk a whole lot, the landline is probably the cheaper option. You can use the landline for local calls and get a prepaid cell phone and use it for the few long distance calls you have to make and come out ahead. This is what we do and our total phone bill each month is $25 (for basic landline service and the prepaid cell cost, prorated per month). There’s no way we could get cell phone service that cheap. You need to run the numbers and figure out exactly what you need and decide from there.

There are other situations where keeping the landline might make more sense than going completely cellular. If you have a monitored security system, the landline is the better choice. I’ve spoken with representatives from several security companies and they all say that, while cell phones and security systems can be made to work together, they are not as reliable as hard wired landlines. If you have something similar to Life Alert or other “I’ve fallen and I can’t get up” type of personal protection systems, many of those require landlines as, well. Before you drop your landline, check the requirements and reliability of any services that you are using for security and protection.

Call quality and reliability is another issue. We live in a donut hole between two towers where cell service is flaky. It works, but the quality is lousy. Since I run a business from my home, I can’t be constantly asking clients to repeat themselves because I missed every third world. I also don’t like having to ask friends and family to repeat themselves, either. Before you drop your landline, make certain that you are happy with the call quality and that it is reliably good, no matter the weather or time of day. Cell phones often don’t work in disasters, either. Because we live in a hurricane prone area, we’re better off with a landline. Never has the landline not worked, but the cell phones have failed us.

You may also need a landline if you want to support your home or business with great DSL service. Here, DSL is our best high speed Internet option. However, our carrier (and we have no carrier choice) requires that we keep the landline in order to get DSL. The only other option is satellite Internet or cable, both of which are substantially more than DSL. We need to keep our landline to get the best price on Internet. Our phone and Internet combined is $60 per month. Cable Internet would cost $50 per month, plus we’d still have to do something about a phone. Satellite Internet is $100 per month and by far the costliest option. Keeping our landline saves us money in this case.

Going all cellular might be a good option, but it may not be the cheapest option. There are also other issues besides cost that you should consider before you make the leap. Take your own preferences, needs and lifestyle into account before you decide.

10 thoughts on “Think About Keeping Your Landline Phone

  1. While landline, may in times be cheaper, I think you’re stretching this article a bit.

    For instance, if a user is likely to get duped into unlimited minutes and data for $100/month, what makes you think they’d pick a basic $20/month landline plan without getting duped into long distance, caller id, call waiting, etc and get that bill right back up to $100?

    Most people need mobility so a landline only is not generally an option. If you already need a cell phone, chances are you can do without a landline at home.

    There are cases for it though… 911, poor cell service at your house, fax/business purposes, and security systems.

    As far as the DSL issue, ATT, Qwest, and Verizon offer “naked” DSL. They may or may not tell you about this, and if they provide your phone service, it’s worth asking for since it doesn’t require phone service. See:

  2. I use Skype at home.

    Here’s what I did last year.
    Wireless Phone (IPEVO) – $100
    12 Month Skype Out (2.95 month) – $35.40
    12 Month Skype Out ($60 – $30 12 month discount) – $30

  3. Basic Landlines where we live cost $10/month. (I’ve had 2 different services, whereas friends 20 miles away had VERY expensive basic landline service). So, it depends where you live. If someone told me cell phones were cheaper, I’d think they were crazy. But I suppose it is true for some.

    I actually just had a friend drop their cell phones and their land line for magic jack. It’s like $20 per year. I think you’d be hard pressed to find a cell phone for $20 per year.

    All that said, I prefer both the cell phone and land line for our own needs. Cell = emergency/family/long distance (couldn’t imagine not having a cell in case of emergency – remember the days before it yes, and it sucked). Land line = everything else. I don’t like to use my cell phone for everything – I don’t like to be that reachable.

  4. I wish we did have $20.00 landline service in my area. It’s more like $50.00 by the time they add all the federal and local taxes, wire charges, etc.

  5. We had hoped to end up moving where we’d not need a landline. Unfortunately, there is no cell signal where I live; hoping in the car each time to go look for a signal isn’t practical either. And no one could reach us either.

    The landline is also bundled with internet and cable, which initially started out costing very little. However, that expired and now it’s time to look for another deal. The landline stays, though…..

  6. My landline runs about $20 a month. My elcheapo Tracfone runs me $20 every three months. I seldom use the Tracfone but it’s handy and I’d never spend more on a cell phone. I’ve frankly never understood the constant use of cellphones to chat with friends but then I’m old school.

  7. We have a cell phone for emergencies which cost around $25 plus $100 phone card to add minutes which are good for a year. Every year we pay $10 or $20 to extend the expiration of the minutes for another year. At home, we have high speed internet which my husband needs if he is going to be doing any work from home. We bough Ooma two years ago and haven’t had a monthly phone bill since. You just buy the Ooma device for around $200 and you get pretty much unlimited local and long distance calling forever, (as long as they stay in business). There is a limit to the minutes but it’s so high that we’ve never even come close. It’s basically to prevent someone from abusing it.

  8. I disagree with this article where it says an unlimited cell phone plan can cost $100/ month. When my contract ended, instead of renewing, I went with NET10’s unlimited plan. It’s $50 a month for unlimited talk, text, web, email, and 411. They have a wide array of phones to choose from. Best of all, there are no “hidden fees”. It’s clear cut, stress free, and has helped me save this year.

  9. Wireless phones are okay but I’m not giving up my land line phone in the house. I think it is a necessity to have a home based number even with the popularity of cell phones.

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