I'm AJ McDonald, a member of Republic's marketing team. I'm a big fan of emerging technology and living simple. When I'm not helping spread the word about Republic, I'm either playing with a new gadget or off traveling and living out of a backpack.
Ah, the fun game of trying to call my mother. Each time, I wind up dialing three numbers: her work cell, her personal cell, and the house phone. At least recently, she’s consolidated down to one cellphone. But there’s still that landline. Why?!?
Lots of people still have this corded relic hanging on their wall, but what does it really do for you? These days, there are more subscriptions to cellphone services in the US than there are actual people (326.4M and rising according to the CTIA), and statistically, for most, if you want to talk to someone, you dial them directly on their cell.
Gone are the days of making awkward small talk with the parents of the girl or boy you’re calling while you wait for them to come to the phone. Gone are the days of telling your kids to quit hogging the phone while they talk to said annoying girl or boyfriend. But most importantly: gone are the days of having to pay separate bills for a landline and cell.
Cost and Availability
Cost is the most obvious reason to ditch your home phone. According to the FCC, a typical landline can run upwards of $500 a year. But why even worry about two bills anymore? Personally, I cut the cord as soon as I went to college and never looked back. I haven’t needed to. I haven’t even missed it and I find myself more connected now than ever. I pay one phone bill each month and I know I’m not ever going to miss a call. My cellphone is always with me. It’s even my alarm clock. Plus, I get all the added benefits of a smartphone—like texting, apps, music, and more.
If you simply must go the hardline route—consider getting a Google Voice account. You can connect a home phone to your Internet router and direct calls over your Internet connection for free. It works like a landline, but doesn’t cost any monthly fees outside of your Internet bill.
E911 and Emergency Services
This is a big one. Up until recently, the most important advantage of having a landline in your home was being able to place emergency calls. BUT! Republic recently rolled out E911 over Wi-Fi to our phones. So now, even when cellular service isn’t available, Republic callers can route emergency calls over Wi-Fi. You just need one physical address associated with each of your phone numbers. This means you now actually have more ways to get a hold of emergency services in the event of an accident.
No More Dead Zones
Another hold up for folks looking to cut their landline was the limitations of living somewhere rural, or where cellular signal just wouldn’t cut it before. Well, since Republic uses Wi-Fi when it's there and cell when it isn’t—callers now have the advantage of being able to place calls where they couldn’t really make them before. As long as you’ve got Wi-Fi in your house—you’ve got phone service.
The Future is Now
Along the same lines as having fancy smartphone apps at my disposal—I can also do neat things like make video calls over Skype—a feature definitely missing from a landline. If I haven’t visited home in a while, or am catching up with a friend in another state—sometimes it's just nice to be able to see who I’m talking to and the glimmer in their eye as they marvel at my sparkling personality and charming wit (that last line is in there just to see if you’re still paying attention).
The CDC reports that nearly two in every five households no longer have a landline as of December 2012. That’s about 38.2% and is on the rise—up 44% from 2010. It’s a trend that’s catching on, and hopefully this post makes it a little easier to make the switch. It’s a great way to consolidate and simplify your calling life and save some cash while you’re at it.
As always, please feel free to leave your questions and comments here.