Tuesday, July 09, 2013

"Do I Really Need a Land Line Phone?"



"Do I really need a land line phone?"  This is a question that has plagued me for years.  Well, not actually plagued me but I've thought about for years.  

The first time this question came up was about twelve years ago when I worked at First Financial Bank in Downingtown.  Sharon, one of the ladies who I worked with told me her 18 year old son, who was beginning college, got his apartment.  She told me he decided not to get a land line but instead would use his cell phone for all his calls.  My first thought was "No phone?"  She said "Well, he makes all his calls with his cell phone, why would he need a regular phone?"  Indeed.  

Since that conversation I have mildly entertained the thought of getting rid of my land line.  Why not?  Ninety-five percent or more of the calls I get on my land line phones are from telemarketers.  Oh I know, put my name on the "Do Not Call List."  Hey, they still call.  Just now, before I sat down at this computer to check my e-mails I see where I had a message on my land line.  I take the time to dial into my voice mail.  Nada.  Nothing there.  Then I look at my caller ID.  "Out of Area."  Well folks, we know what that means don't we?  Another one of those "Do Not Call" calls.  

In the past I mainly kept my land line in case my Mother called me.  She didn't use a cell phone.  However, she died in 2010 and since then I don't think I received more than a handful of "legitimate" phone calls on my land line.  Oh sure, I get the calls from the doctor's offices reminding me of appointments or asking me to confirm appointments.  They can just as well call my cell phone, which many of them do.  I'm one of those folks who always give out two phone numbers.

I've justified having a land line in the past by saying I needed a land line to call a Help line.  The only Help line I call these days is Apple and that is very rare.  No longer do I have those hours calls for help with my Windows based computer because, thank God, I don't use Windows based computers ("Free at last, free at last!  Thank God I'm free at last!")

I know I can save about $50 a month on my Verizon bill by cutting my land line.  That should help offset my extra charges for my iPad Internet access and our two iPhones.  Adds up doesn't it? 

However, I do have a easy to remember land line phone.  But then, I know I would derive immense pleasure by making life more difficult for all those telemarketers, scammers and my non existent grandchildren who call me from Mexico asking me to bail them out of jail. Oh yes folks, I've had THOSE calls.

So folks, do I take the plunge or not?



33 comments:

  1. I am keeping my landline because in case of an emergency (earthquake), I would be able to use that phone instead of my cell phone. And when I call Europe or "yack" with girlfriends for hours, I want to do it on my regular phone because I am afraid of brain cancer if I talk on my cell for too long (maybe it is a myth). Don't you have a package with your carrier? Mine is $ 99 (plus tax) with Time Warner for my landline, cable and internet. Cell is with Sprint.

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    1. Nadege,

      I think the need for a landline all depends on the person and what you need it for. I can understand your concern about developing brain cancer from using a cell phone. That is a valid concern especially if you "yack" for hours with your girlfriends in Europe. I "yack" for hours with my friend Larry and also Dr. Spo but I do it on FaceTime.

      I do have a package with my carrier, which is Verizon. I have DirecTV which I definitely want but I really don't need the landline. Seems that most of the calls I get on my landline are solicitation calls which annoy me a lot. I haven't made my decision yet. This one is hard.

      Ron

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  2. I think the phone companies are coercing us into thinking that we still need landline phones.
    I'm paying Windstream $56 a month for my landline phone and broadband for the computer. I told them that I don't need a landline phone but they've insisted that I keep it. I'm completely clueless when it comes to things like this.

    My MagicJack phoneline works perfectly and I've never had any problems with it. It's really all I need.

    I hardly ever use my cell phone but I always keep it just in case. It has come in handy numerous times.

    Life is becoming too damn complicated. I miss the good ol' days when all we had were landline phones. And party lines.

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    1. Jon,
      I agree with you that phone companies to coerce us into believing we need land lines. We've been so brainwashed into believing that we can't do without one but I wonder. What I do know is that almost all calls I receive on my landline are solicitation calls. "Out of area". So I'm paying $50 a month so I can be solicited for money?

      I do my long phone calls through FaceTime on my computer. Actually, I hate to hold a conversation with a friend on a regular phone. Maybe it's because I've used a phone so much on my various jobs throughout my different jobs. I hear the phone ringing and I know it is somebody who has a question or wants me to do something for them.

      My computer line is through Comcast (who I hate but I have no choice where I live if I want a high speed Internet connection, Verizon's DSL was always going down plus it was slow).

      I'm like you, I yearn for the "good old days" when life was a lot less complicated. But then I wouldn't have friends like you would I?

      Ron

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  3. if ya ain't using it, cut it off! think of the things you could buy with the extra $50.

    for the record, I still have mine. spouse's mom doesn't have a cell phone; neither do some of his other elderly relatives. I pay $120/month for cable tv/phone/FIOS to verizon.

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    1. Anne Marie,

      I wish I had access to Verizon's FIOS service but I don't and I don't think I will in my lifetime. I live in a development that was prewired by Comcast. I can't see Verizon coming into this development to lay FIOS lines. They would have to tear up all the roads. I think they figure they have enough business running lines to other individual homes. In the meantime they get a lot more than $120 from me by my land line, DirecTV, and extra charges to have our iPhones and iPads accessible to the Internet.

      Ron

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  4. If you have broadband then you can convert your LL# and use the broadband with services that cost much less.

    Two reasons to keep a landline - out of the country calls and disasters. In the case of disasters which cut power - during hurricane Sandy, we lost bot LL service and cell service. The cells were either knocked out, lost post or the systems were overwhelms because most LL were out too. We could txt after midnight but no calling and internet only after 2 am.

    The LL went out for one of three main reasons: lines down with all the trees. With no power, most LL phone bases needed power to operate. Make sure you have one of the old fashion kind that just dial numbers. Also, and this was out problem, many LL now use some sort of battery system in the house that is only good for about 12 hrs even if you don't use it.

    You may want to check out other cable systems for your internet service for the iphones and pads. I got cable internet access not for the house but because they have so many hot spots that permits me to use my iphone and ipad and it is so much better then the cell based access and about the same cost.

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    1. Sean,

      There is a lot to consider before I discontinue my land line. I think why I'm even considering getting rid of the land line is because of all the "non-calls" I get by having a land line. I would like to take away that ability. It's like snail mail, most of our mail now is junk. Same with the land line phone calls, most of it is "junk." But there are those legitimate times we need it.

      Ron

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  5. Ron,

    Don't know. I hate cell phones and only have one for emergencies. I only pay $10 a month for it. Land line is tied in the package with TV and Internet. One thing with these packages, especially with Comcast, if you drop the phone the cost doesn't drop as far as you'd think because they take away the discount for having all three and it bumps up a good bit. They get you coming or going. Actually, I never have liked talking on any phone. I try to get places to contact me by email rather than phone.

    Lar

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    1. Lar,

      You and the Amish. I would be lost without my cell phone much as I would be lost without my car. I use my cell phone for just about everything, including phone calls. Oh I know how Comcast ties everything together. I use them only for my Internet connection and they charge me a heft price, $72.00 a month, more than twice what Verizon charged ($30) for my DSL hookup. Of course Comcast doesn't go down every week like Verizon did. As I said in my post, I do my serious talking these days on FaceTime. Eventually most people will.

      Ron

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  6. It's not going to be too long before copper POTS (Plain Old Telephone Service) is a thing of the past. I dropped it about 7 years ago, and in reality, had no real use of the landline for the 3 or 4 or so years prior to that, so since 2001, I've been cellular only. You need to be sure that in a 911 emergency, you clearly give your location, as it isn't automatically shown on dispatchers' screens. You can register your cellular with 911 in your area, but then if you aren't home and have an emergency, you still must give a precise location.

    I say save the money, that's why I dropped mine.
    Peace <3
    Jay

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    1. Jay,

      I would give it up just to cut off a way for the telemarketers not to bother me. The only valid calls I get now are confirmations of my doctor's appointments. And they could call my cell phone.

      Ron

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  7. we just made the decision to rid ourselves of the land line. It feels giddy giving up something 'always there'. But I learned to be without a record player; I will survive this too.

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  8. Dr. Spo,

    Knowing your decision just gave me a little more of a push to drop my land line. It seems the only reason I need it is to provide a way for telemarketers to bother me. I think the only reason I kept it is for those long Help line sessions. With my Apple computer I don't have those sessions anymore and if I did I would just use my cell phone. It is hard giving up something that has "always been there" though. But I too did give up my record player.

    Ron

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  9. I'm in the opposite situation. I don't have a cell phone. Only a land line. The land line is great because we get a better deal. I have unlimited calling to other land lines throughout Europe and North America. Calling mobiles (in Europe only) costs a little more. Neither one of us has a cell, and we periodically have the conversation: "should we take the plunge and get one of those things?" There are one or two times a year when we think it might come in handy.

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    1. Walt,

      My good friend Larry has a cell phone but only carries it with him in his car for emergencies. Originally that's why I also had a cell phone. However, with the iPhone, I use it for other "basic" necessities of my life. One of the biggest is the calendar reminders. I also take the majority of my photos and videos with my cell phone. I also have my contacts in my cell phone. And perhaps the biggest use is that my iPhone is also my computer when I'm away from my desktop computer. I can also use mu cellphone for FaceTime which I do on a regular basis with my friends Larry, Bill B. and Dr. Spo. I would literally have to make a major change in my lifestyle and go backwards if I didn't have my iPhone. It is part of my life. I know some folks like to knock the Digital Age but I put them in the same category as the Amish who say they don't need a car until they need a car then they have a "civilian" drive them to their destination. But whatever works for you. I just don't see my land line working for me any more.

      Ron

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  10. I got caller-I.D. on my land line and that takes care of telemarketers, but I'm hesitant about giving up the last discreet analog line to my bank etc. Bad idea to recite any code number over a digital phone. Just imagine all the monsters decoding your private info from the comfort of their cages. As one who had his identity stolen in March, I suggest you use a land line for all business calls.

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    1. Geo.,

      I'll probably keep my land line as long as I can afford it (which I can now) even though I rarely use it. It does annoy me greatly that most of the calls are solicitation calls. I have caller ID too and I know who is calling (almost always "Out of Area") but I still have to go to the trouble of seeing who called. I would like to cut that off for them. Make their job a little harder. But I think in the end I better keep my land line just in case. If for nothing else, then a backup.

      Ron

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  11. Anonymous1:15 PM

    Hi Ron,

    I find that I am going thru the very same thing. I retired from my P/T Job over a year ago. My boss was nice enough to let me keep the cell that I had from the store. I find that I use this phone for calls after 9pm, Free on Sat and Sundays and for emergencies. It is with Verizon and I can call anyone on Verizon Cell or Land for nothing. Thank goodness a lot of my friends also have Verizon.

    I recently got a Magic Jack Plus System. I really like it but you have to have a modem to use it. I put it into the modem on my computer. It works well as long as no problems with loss or down time with your carrier. Right now I am having problems with it. Getting to know the folks at Magic Jack very well. I like the idea of it. Free Local and Long Distance anywhere for only $19.95 a year plus a one time cost for the Unit. I have spoken to my friends in Canada and Italy for hours at a time. If this works out (in the trial period that I have given it) and I keep it, will most likely give up my Land Line.

    When we had Ike hit us here in Texas a few years back, was without power for over a week. My cell was not working most of the time but my Land Line was. I was one of the few of my friends who could talk to the outside world. They would come over to me to call family that had LL Phones.

    I recently went to my phone company and changed my service to where I can only make local calls. I can get long distance calls in. This dropped my bill to under $20.00 a month from like the general $55.00/60.00 a month.

    So many people that I know along with family have gotten rid of the LL's. I think it is up to each person and what is best for them.

    Ron, keep up the great work with your Blog. I go into it each day and really look forward to it and starting my day off. Congratulations to both You and Bill on your recent marriage. I am so happy for the both of You.

    Roy
    In Texas



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    1. Roy,

      So good to hear from a Texan! And thank you for the compliment about my blog. It always nice to hear from folks "out there".

      You're right about it's up to each person to make their decision about using or not using land lines. Probably what is driving me to consider getting rid of my land line is the number (average of three a day) of solicitation calls I get from "out of area." They are so annoying. I would just like to cut off their ability to bother me with whatever the latest ruse is to get money out of me.

      I used to use my land line to talk to my Mom and my best friend Bob. My Mom died and my best friend Bob is in a care facility now. I can't talk to him anymore on the phone. There is no one on the other end of the line.

      I probably will continue to keep my land line because I can afford it. However, should I sometime completely retire and give up my part-time job, then I will have to take a serious look at cutting expenses and that land line is going to be one of the first to go.

      Thank you again for your comment.

      Ron

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  12. I'm just surfing the net and I found this site - blog. Congrats and much happiness to you Ron. Would love to meet someone like you. As far as phones - don't use them much but have a magic jack in my computer for $30 a year in Canada (Toronto). In the States I think it's only $20. Handy and cheap. Free long distance, voice mail, call display etc. All the best

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  13. Pat888,

    Welcome to my blog. Thank you for your good wishes. I think I"ll keep my land phone for a little while longer yet. Hard to break a life long habit.

    Have a great day!

    Ron

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  14. Hey Ron - I just seemed to happen upon this site. You certainly are a nice chap from what I can tell. Good looks too. I have a land line for convenience and it's just $30 a year. I'm in Toronto Canada. I think it's only $20 yearly there as you don't have to renew your phone number as we do for $10 annually. You just need broadband on your computer. So if you've got internet already - this is pretty cheap.

    Just a note too - I have to rent a modem or is it a router - from Bell. Aren't allowed to buy your own. So after years that item has cost a lot at, presently, $5 a month. Then I found out you can do a one time rental fee at $60 or $100 (I forget) - and then you don't pay anymore.

    Sorry about you having to have surgery sometime earlier. Hope you are well.

    Pat

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    1. pat888,

      Thanks for the information about a land line. I still don't quit understand hour the phone works on the Internet. Can I still use my same phones? I do have Internet with a modem from Comcast. Do I have to get another modem? That's what confuses me. Of course I realize that Verizon and Comcast prefer that I be confused so that I continue to use their expensive land lines.

      Ron

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  15. Sorry Ron - not meaning to take up all your time - I didn't realize that my other message got thru. I'm trying to get my photo on here but not sure how. Will send "me" along so at least you can see what I look like. I bet you have friends here in Toronto. But if you and Bill ever come up this way it would be nice to meet.

    Pat

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    1. pat888,

      You're not taking up all my time. No need to apologize. The first and only time Bill and I were in Toronto was in 1966 during our "honeymoon." Of course I loved Toronto and always wanted to visit again plus the other cities in Canada. However, at this point in our lives I don't know if we could ever do that again but it is certainly a possibility. Back then we were much younger and could take the long drives in a car, not so much now. We're pushing our physical limits now when we take our annual road trip south. We hope to do that one more time next year for our official honeymoon when we visit Bill's hometown in Toccoa, Georgia.

      Your comments are always welcome.

      Ron

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    2. By the way, your picture came through and you are an attractive man. :)

      Ron

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  16. Holy smokes - I didn't know you were there Ron. Magic Jack is easy. Tho in Canada I had to buy a number - I think you can keep your own in the States. There is no other equipment necessary. Whatever transmits the signal to your computer (modem or router - I'm not computer savvy) should work fine. Magic Jack improves their product all the time. I have Magic Jack Plus - I think there is something new out now. Up here we can buy it at The Source (Radio Shack). Customer service there I hope can inform you more.

    I love the States, by the way. Easy to get to Buffalo. Was lucky to have had two business trips to LA. New York twice. And once in Hartford Conn.

    Keep up the good writing.

    Pat

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    1. Pat,

      Yes, I'm here. :) Do you have FaceTime? You have to have an Apple product either an iPhone, iPad or iMac. That's the way I talk to my friends who have Apple products. I talk to my friend in Arizona, Pennsylvania and northern Delaware and also my brother in South Carolina. As more people buy and use Apple products I can talk to them that way. Maybe years from now the land line phone will be obsolete. But then what would all those businesses do with those menu options you have to jump through to get a live person at a company?

      Ron

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  17. Hi Ron - honest I'm not trying to take up your evening. Man, you must have a lot of writing to do with so many reaching out to you. Would love to chat - I'd only be afraid of boring you - but would gamble. The only Apple product I have besides an iPod is this computer I use - Mac Book Pro.

    i will look up Face Time and perhaps we can connect. Thanks for the tip.

    Pat

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    1. Pat,

      I just got back, I had to go away. I just tried calling you on FaceTime but I got the message that you weren't available. You have to download the FaceTime software first. Go to the Apple website. It's easy to download the FaceTme software. It doesn't cost anything either. I'm not tech savvy and I did it so you should have any problem either. Good luck!

      Ron

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  18. Ron - if you like you can try adwriter91@hotmail.com

    I see my face on the screen but I'm not sure I'll know how to answer a call.

    Pat

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    1. Pat,

      I can send you a link to the software for FaceTime that you have to download first.

      Ron

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