Do you need a landline phone?

A landline refers to a wired or 'fixed' phone. For many people, this is a basic necessity for settling-in. But is it really?

Ask yourself, "Do you even need a landline? With cell phones being ubiquitous and prices falling continuously, does it make sense having mobile phone service only?

This is not such a fantastic question. A recent survey showed one in five American households had only cellphones and no landlines in 2009.

Here are some points to consider in favor of landlines:

  • Landlines are good for households with children, who might not have their own cell phones but would surely know where the home phone is, in case of an emergency.

  • Landlines are reliable and voice quality is not an issue, no matter where you live. Cell phones, on the other hand, may or may not have good reception in your home.

  • Additionally, landlines will continue to stay reliable during natural disasters or bad storms, relatively speaking.

  • If you dial 911 in an emergency, the response center will know your address immediately, as listed against your landline. This is especially useful in a household with older people or people who don't speak English - someone for instance, might be having a heart attack and might not be able to provide his full address on the phone

  • Generally speaking, landlines are cheaper than cell phones in their running costs.

  • Landlines never run out of battery and never need to be charged!

BUT, here are some arguments against keeping a landline:

  • If you're a working couple, and if both you and your spouse have cell phones, you might as well save on the landline. Chances are you'll hardly ever use it.

  • If you choose a good cell phone plan (say an unlimited domestic plan), you'll be able to cap your monthly expenses without worrying about cell phone costs vs. landline costs.

  • If you live in a big city, the likelihood of not having good coverage and voice quality is low.

  • Many cell phones now come with GPS capability and can be located by authorities in case of an emergency. In fact much to the contrary, cell phones can be given to teenagers as GPS devices to check on their location, on a late evening out!

In short, its worth looking at your personal situation and preferences, and first deciding if you even need a landline at home.

If you do decide to install a landline, there are 3 major decisions you'll need to make:

  • What kind of landline technology to choose (DSL, VoIP, cable, optical fiber, or the old fashioned telephone network)?

  • Which service provider to choose, once you've decided on the technology?

  • How to choose a phone instrument

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