If you’re like most people, you’re currently paying for a home phone bill and a cell phone bill. It’s likely that everyone in your family has a cell phone. Even when they’re home.
Are we like frogs in boiling water?
Sometime in the last ten years, cell phones have crept into the status quo and become a necessity. We’re a culture of instant accessibility, constant connectiveness, and – dare I say – status (my cell phone is cooler than your cell phone!).
Along the way, land lines have remained as a legacy of the days we used to be reachable only after 5.
The Only Reason I Still Have One
There’s only one reason I still keep my land line, and one I’m quickly getting over – is spammers. A short glance at my home call logs reveals 800 numbers throughout the day.
My home phone is a catch-all for telemarketers…
Absolutely no one else calls me at home. The only outgoing calls I make are when my cell phone is out of reach or dead. (Charge it, stupid!).
Update, October 2009: Seeing a significant drop-off in telemarketing calls to my home number, and still very little use of the phone, I made the final decision to cancel Vonage home service and go cell-only.
The Rise of the Wireless Phone
The proliferation of cell phones has all but obliterated the need for a home phone. Ironically for many, it’s also obliterated the need for an office phone, for better or worse.
It’s also simplified how we communicate – we’re available at one phone number and nowhere else. If we answer, we can talk.
Our mobile pals alert us about missed calls and messages. Gone are the days of checking the answering machine when you get home at night.
Goodbye, Phone Company
Customers are leaving phone companies in droves. The high price of home service, which now largely goes unused, is an amazing motivator. The recession is a fantastic prioritizer.
VOIP services like Vonage arrived on the scene early this decade with the promise of cheap home service. But their prices are creeping up too, and they’re still extra expenses.
Lost most of all is the opportunity cost of that cash, even if it’s recycled into upgrading your cell phone service to ‘make up’ for the added use you’ll put on it.
Can Anything Save the Home Phone?
I doubt it. We become more mobile every day, and exponentially so. However, there remain a few segments of the population that will continue to use home phones.
It won’t be the ones that can’t afford wireless, as basic plans become cheaper and more accessible, and often less expensive than home service.
Home phone use will largely be based on demographics and life style. The elderly with no desire to use a cell phone and 95% of their time spent at home have good use for it. Work-at-home families will use them as office phones.
People with needs to call internationally may find a safe haven in them. And homes with security systems often need a land line to operate (although alternatives are coming out!).
An older co-worker also pointed out a pretty good reason keep a true land line – it still works after a hurricane. Touche, my friend. We are in Florida, after all. (He also said I would have to pry the phone from his hands before he gave it up).
For the rest of us, I think it’s time to wave goodbye to the phone company.
Photo by tylerturden1