Oh, if only I had a signal! Photo by epSos.de, used under Creative Commons license.

Kellbot! Asks!

Like many other twentysomethings, I haven’t had a landline phone since I moved out of my parents’ house. My husband and I both use our cell phones as our primary phones, and never even considered needing a phone line for the house. It seemed like an unnecessary monthly expense.

But now that we’re getting ready to expand our family, I’m starting to wonder if a landline makes some sense. Unlike cell phones, a plain old telephone system usually works in power outages, won’t run out of battery, and may be more reliable in emergency situations.

Have you ever been thankful to have a landline for your family, or had a situation where you wish you had one?

Comments on Is it time for a landline?

  1. I use the landline for calling my family – it’s cheaper and if my mom calls me even free. I have a very cheap cell phone and not very ‘phone minutes’ each month, so for longer phone calls, I try to use the land line. Also for international calls! So, it might be cheaper too.

  2. I would note that there’s a difference in the kind of phones used on a landline. My parents have a landline, and they have 2 different kinds of handsets – one that is set right into the wall, and one that is cordless and has a docking station. The one directly attached to the wall always worked in power outages (which happen a lot around my parents’ home). However, the handsets will lose juice, and once they’re gone that’s it. So it really depends on your handsets as well as having a landline!

    • We keep a cheap $20 corded phone in a drawer by the cordless phone docking station just for such emergencies.

  3. Ditto on the corded vs. cordless phone – the cordless will not work in a power outage. Also, make sure you’re not getting one of those deals where your phone works through the modem or else it still will not work during power outage.

  4. i had one for a while and got rid of it because it seldom got used…except for the incessant telemarketing calls.

    however, a landline is inarguably better in an emergency. your landline is connected to your address, which means that when you call 911 on it they know where you called from, even if you are too sick to talk or the burglar makes you tell them an address on the other side of town (true story, not mine – shudder).

    cell phones can’t be traced with that kind of accuracy – depending on the phone company they may get a small circle of options or a very large one.

    that said, we don’t have a landline. just not price-competitive with a cell phone when near all my calls are long distance.

    • In the US at least, you can call 911 on any landline, even if there is not working service to that address. Just plug in a phone, and you can call emergency and operator services.

  5. My husband and I had used our cell phones as primary phones for years, but when we moved into our new house we discovered that since it’s large and made of brick the reception (especially in the middle rooms) can be very patchy. Since we needed Internet service and wanted to get basic cable (a little luxury), we went for a 3-in-1 deal that offered a land line phone as well.

    There’s a couple things that I really love about our land line. One, as a newlywed I got a huge kick out of recording our outgoing message: “Hi, you’ve reached the R—- family!” Two, I feel that the land line allows people to be more connected to one another. When I was a kid, my dad’s friends would call for him and if my mom answered she’d chit chat with them for a couple minutes until my dad got to the line and vice versa. How’re your kids, how’s the wife, anything new? Type of stuff. They were familiar with the people in each other’s lives. I once lived with a guy for 6 years and never knew what his long-distance friends sounded like because they always called his cell phone, which I never answered because it was always in his pocket. Now that my husband and I have a land line, we have the same sort of experiences my parents did, and it keeps us knit closer to our friends in that little way.

    • This! If we didn’t have a landline, I would never talk to my boyfriend’s mother. The landline gives us a chance to chat when she calls and I answer.

      • Ha! My parents in law use the same trick! I think the thing is that a land line is a shared phone, whereas a cell phone is private and individual.

  6. Since we have had a baby, I’ve been thinking that we shold get a land line as well, in case of emergencies. it’s probably going to be easier to teach a child to use a phone that has “real” buttons, and it always located in the same spot. Not to mention, it doesn’t need batteries…

  7. We have a landline because we have an alarm system that requires is. It’s cheaper than my cell, which I barely use anyways. No joke, I haven’t used my cell phone in nearly a month. To me, that’s a waste of money compared to my landline.

  8. We got one because it actually worked out cheaper to get a package deal than internet on it’s own. But we hardly ever use it.

    My husband doesn’t like to talk on the phone anyway and I have free calls to landlines as well as free minutes on my mobile so I always use that. Everyone who calls us calls our mobiles. Very occasionally if they can’t get through they’ll try the landline. Most likely they’ll call back later or send an email.

    I suppose it’s good to have it for emergencies but we’re pretty lucky in that natural disasters are virtually unheard of in this country (aside from the occasional flood) so it’s pretty unlikely we’d be without power and desperately needing to call someone.

    Honestly if it wasn’t still cheaper to get internet this way I wouldn’t bother.

  9. when we had the “earthquake” in nyc this summer, i couldn’t get through to my boyfriend by phone for a couple hours, and he couldn’t get through to me. now, this earthquake was by no means an emergency situation, but there were so many people on the airwaves that we couldn’t get through to each other. it totally freaked me out that i couldn’t reach him, because we both have cell phones. if there had been a REAL emergency, my freakout would have gone through the roof. so i’ve been contemplating a land line since then.

    • In a real emergency sometimes even landlines are unavailable when the circuits are busy. I remember that happening with 9/11 because I’m from D.C. and it took a while for the circuits to clear from the sheer amount of phone calls being made at once…

  10. When I longed for a land line had nothing to do with family or emergencies. When I used to live with many roommates and host many guests there would be times where I just wanted to ask a favor of whoever might be at the house. You know the “Hey, can you make sure the oven is off” or “Can you read me the phone number written on the note on my desk” kind of things. I would often end up having to call three or more people just to determine that none of them were at the house. If I’d had a landline I could have made one call.

  11. My fiance and I had a landline for a long time because our roommate at the time refused to let us get rid of it. He was the only one who ever got calls on it since he refused to buy a cell phone, but he also wouldn’t pay the whole bill himself. Thankfully he is gone and the $64 bill is gone. Someday we’ll probably get one again in the far future, but right now, for us, we feel it’s unnecessary. If you’re still feeling unsure, maybe getting one just in case is a good thing (like a better safe than sorry thing).

  12. We were totally of the opinion that we wouldn’t need a land line – one more expense, and we would never use it. However, once we got a house we discovered that we can’t get reception anywhere (it’s a really old, pretty darn sturdy house, half in a hill). We got a signal booster (“microcell”, for free, actually!) but that goes through our modem. So now when our power goes out, we instantly can’t make calls. That means if we had an emergency, which often goes with having no power, we would not be able to call for help. Hence, we are planning on getting a land line soon (or at the VERY least switching to a different phone company whose wavelengths can make it through our walls)…

    P.S. – love the picture of Ikea 😉

    • That’s probably a phone issue rather than a provider issue. Or if it’s a provider issue it’s a question of tower placement. But if you’re going to switch providers over it, make sure you ask about how to cancel if you get the phone home and it still doesn’t work.

      BTW, “I have no signal at home” has been proven in the US as a legitimate reason that the company must allow you to cancel your contract without cancellation fees. They cannot provide the service, therefore it’s their breach of the contract not yours. I don’t know how that works in other countries though.

  13. This thread is relevant to my interests. 🙂 Especially the “expanding family” part of it – I’m curious if anyone has added a land line in conjunction with having kid(s)? It seems like it would be good for the kid before they get their own cell phone to have a “home base” number to know.

  14. Something important to think about is the difference between landlines and phones that are connected to your modem (those that are bundled with internet services). They seem like landlines, but won’t work without power because they’ll only work when the modem has power.

  15. Like others here, our cell reception in our condo is awful. When we got our cable/internet they had a bundle for a year that was so cheap and it included phone. In that phone we also got free long distance to the states (we are in Canada) so I can call my friends and family back home for no extra charge. Love having the landline and we are getting one when we move again.

  16. We have to have a land line in our building because it acts as our doorbell. Though my BF would be happy enough to get rid of it, I’ve had the same number since I got my own phone line while living at home (wow aging myself a little here, this was before cell phones were a staple high school accessory). While we don’t use it that much I like the sentimentality of it. Plus the whole security thing with emergency services being able to trace it.

  17. A friend got a landline when she had her second child and the first was old enough to know how to dial a phone. Her reasoning was that she wanted the older child to be able to dial 911 if there were an emergency and both parents weren’t in the house (if a babysitter were there, or an older relative without a cell phone, for example).

    I don’t think she or her partner use it much, but that’s the number she gives the kids’ schools. It also saves either her or her partner from always being the one to deal with the school/ *insert-group-obligation by themselves.

    I’m very seriously considering doing the same when we’re in the same situation.

  18. I have a landline that we installed when we had the kids, but mostly because my parents are overseas so the calls were a ton cheaper. When the kids get older (like 5), you aren’t the only one using the phone anymore and believe me, the kids like to call their friends too. Remember doing that? I also want them to be able to call either me or dad or even my folks in NZ when they want to. Later on, I’ll be able to call them on the landline to check if they’re home like they are supposed to be! Hahah.

  19. I think that having a true landline (not a phone connected through the internet) and a corded phone that doesn’t need to be plugged in is really important. During a blackout that hit the a huge area over multiple states, my parents and I were still able to make phone calls because we had a landline. Cell phones don’t work if there is no power to the cell tower, and I think people forget that a power outage to an entire town can render their cell phones useless even if they are fully charged. A basic landline (without long distance service) only costs a few dollars a month, so having one isn’t a major expense.

  20. I hate my landline! I live in Australia and it costs me at least $100 a month. But we have pre-paid mobile phones here so when I have no money (I am looking for work), there is no credit on my phone, and I can receive calls but not make them. This is where I need the landline, but I don’t actually make that many calls, so I resent the $100/mth. That said, it is reassuring to think I can use it in an emergency – I’m constantly losing my mobile phone when it’s switched off and I can’t ring it. In fact it’s been lost in my apartment somewhere for a week now.

    (I am not the most organised person, as you can probably tell, and I have social phobia which makes me despise talking on the phone, so I don’t tend to get overly worried when I mislay the mobile phone).

    I wish people would just email me and never ring! lol.

  21. as a 911 calltaker and dispatcher, i will say this: i have SERIOUS LANDLINE LOVE. no matter what, if you dial 911 from a landline in an emergency, WE.WILL.SEND.YOU.HELP simply because we KNOW WHERE YOU ARE AUTOMATICALLY. – like, you don’t have to say a word… also – landlines don’t drop calls, they rarely run out of battery power and they work during power outages. i yell a resounding YES to the landline. YES!

  22. We have horrible cell service in our new neighborhood, and decided to drop one of our cell plans and get a landline. Hubby got a cheapie prepaid to keep in his car for emergencies, and I take the main cell since I have a long commute. Landline = awesome. Great reception, no more dropped calls, works in storms. Magic. No one ever calls us at the landline number except my Mom, which is even nicer, since the thing I hate most about landlines was all the ringing. Yay.

  23. We put in a landline because our cell reception was spotty and intermittent at best in our rural home. It came in handy last December when we had an outdoor fire that took out the electric pole next to the house. It uses a cheapo $20 WM phone and worked with no power.

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