According to a recent survey, more Americans are ditching their landlines and going cell-only, due in part to the recession. In fact, households that relied on mobile phones have actually surpassed those with solely landlines.
In December 2008, more than 20 percent of households were wireless-only, while 17 percent used landlines alone. Another 15 percent said that, while they have both, the majority of their calling was performed on cell phones. These figures come from the Centers for Disease Control's National Center for Health Statistics.
The CDC started tracking these stats in 2003, when the agency started worrying that their phone surveys could be biased. Landline households and cell phone households tend to have certain generalized profiles, so focusing on one or the other could skew health data results. So they began looking at the numbers, and found some interesting stuff, among them:
-Foregoing health insurance
-Not wearing a seat belt
Should You Cut the Cord?
An article on Philly.com mentions Laura Cerda, a 41-year-old Sacramento woman who cut her landline only to reorder it a couple months later. Turns out, her mother (who watches Cerda's daughter) never turns on her cell. And Cerda's child doesn't answer hers either, preferring SMS.
"We have to text, and I can't really yell effectively through a text," says Cerda. (Okay, that's kind of funny. She's basically paying for the right to yell at her kid.)
For others, however, paying an extra monthly bill for a rarely used phone service is out of the question in these difficult economic times.
So how are phone companies responding? Check this out: Earlier this month, I ran across a blog post from BetaNews titled, ?AT&T: Without a landline phone, you could die.? Yowza. It's all about the need to have landlines for 911 emergency services. Call it a marketing scare tactic or what, but there's some truth to it.
At my parents? home, the landline is crucial ? at least for now. 911 services can't find an address via cell phone yet (only triangulate a general vicinity), but they can pinpoint it via landline. So if Dad has an accident and can't talk, he can call 911 and they can find his address. For him (and for me), the peace of mind is worth the extra $60 per month fee.
The Nostalgia of Landlines
In my own home, it's a whole other story. I had no landline in my old apartment, and things went pretty smoothly, so I've been trying to convince my husband to box the hardline in our new place. The cost savings would be significant, and we rarely use all our minutes anyway. And since we?re fairly young, I think the slightly less robust E911 services will be just fine.
But he's sticking to his guns. He likes the reliability of having a hardwired phone (even though the one we use is powered by electricity. So what will happen during the next outage? You guessed it ? It becomes a paperweight. Our cell phones, however, will still work for as long as the battery has a charge).
Is it practicality, like he thinks, or is it more about being comfortable with a familiar (albeit, kind of old) technology? While I can understand the nostalgia ? I have one of those old-fashioned telephone ringtones on my iPhone because I like how it reminds me of phone rings from my childhood ? but I?d still be perfectly happy to get rid of our landline.
What about you? Do you live in a cell-only household? Have you had any issues with it? Or do you hang onto your landline phone? Seriously, please chime in, because your comments will probably help us figure out whether to keep ours or not.
[via BetaNews, Philly.com, CDC]