Land Lines: Is it Time to Cut the Cord?

Before you cut the cord on your home phone line, consider the pros and cons of going cellular.

The growing popularity of smartphones has made them our constant companions for phone service, web access, texting, apps, and much more. We spend so much time with our devices, in fact, that many users have decided to drop their traditional telephone service. But before you make the change, read up on the pros and cons of going cellular. Then make the right phone decision for you.

Cutting the landline will save some money, but there are other benefits.

Pro: Cutting the landline means having one less bill to pay every month. Over the course of a year, this can add up to a few hundred dollars, depending on your telephone plan. Cutting the landline also means no more telemarketing calls during naps, meals, or bedtime.

Pro: Your cell phone number isn't listed in a telephone book, which means you essentially have an unlisted number. This gives you control over who can reach you. You'll always know who is calling, too, because all cell phones post the incoming phone number. If it's a number in your contacts, then it will post the name of the caller. Every cell phone also has voice mail, so there's no need to keep a separate answering machine.

Pro: Your phone number is yours, so when you move, the number goes with you. It's one less thing to transfer or start up in a new city.

Pro: Unlike landlines, cell phones are small and versatile. They take up little space and are with you when you need them.

If you plan to go exclusively cellular, there are a few drawbacks.

Con: Cell phones can be less reliable. There are plenty of places in this country -- even for those carriers with the biggest networks -- where your phone won't work. Rural service can be spotty. Urban hubs have so many users that it can slow down service. Some cell phones don't work in basements, brick buildings, or the shopping mall and have spotty coverage in bad weather. You, as the owner and user, affect reliability, too. You need to make sure your phone is always charged so that you can make and receive calls.

Con: Landlines are necessary for many other services, including home security, cable TV service, and fax. If you run a home business, a landline is nearly a business necessity.

Con: Not having a home phone number is an inconvenience, especially if you share your home with children or elderly family members. As children grow and begin making phone calls, will you allow your child's friends to call your cell phone? Will you need a cell phone at home to reach your children when you are away? At what age will you get each child his or her own cell phone?

Con: In an emergency, 911 operators can't know the origin of a cell phone call. With a home phone, 911 operators know your address and will dispatch help even if you are unable to speak. If you are reluctant to drop your landline, call your carrier and ask about a bare bones plan that would allow you to keep your home phone for emergency use.

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