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. My husband has is PhD in wireless research and is still currently working in the field. So I can say, with pretty good confidence, that I love our landline. Cellphone heat up your head and certainly the radiation penetrates a few centimeters. But we have a child… and his skull isn’t that thick, so the radiation penetrates much further through. Besides which, he’s growing, and the longterm effects on wireless radiation isn’t known yet. My husband may do research on wifi but he knows better than to rely on it at home! -at least until they’ve created a signal that doesn’t interact at the cellular level– yea for research!

  2. I’m grateful for our landline. My husband doesn’t have a cell phone, and we were living in Japan during the March earthquake. I was at work and he was home when it happened, and I was able to get in touch with him on a friend’s landline. The cell phone networks didn’t work until at least the next day. It was very reassuring for both of us to know the other was safe. That five-hour walk home would have been much worse if I was worrying about his safety.

  3. My hub and I don’t have a land line yet, but I plan to get one later on when we have children. I think it’s always good to have access to a phone (not having to rely on a babysitter’s cell) and they are so much better if you have to call 911. When I called from a land line the paramedics showed up in minutes but when I’ve called from a cell to report an accident they always have to ask where you are and route you to the correct PD before you can even tell them what’s wrong and what you need

  4. I’m in late-20s and I’ve always had a landline– both in the US and abroad. I prefer telephoning via landline over a cell phone — especially for long long-distance calls — any day. As others have mentioned, it makes calling overseas easier and cheaper in many ways. (Also, to call a landline in Germany from overseas is exponentially cheaper than calling a mobile phone. Skype is still cheapest though!)

    I’ve thought about giving up my cell phone — getting a smartphone changed that though 😉 — but never my landline. I know a lot of people don’t have them but I recommend it. If you are already purchasing internet and/or cable/satellite services in the US, chances are that adding a landline wouldn’t be much more expensive.

    The one thing is that I don’t have an answering machine; if people really want to get in touch, they can call back. My cell phone has voice mail and this makes it easier to screen the (very few) telemarketers. (My cell phone gets more strange calls, actually.) Just “make sure” you make your number/address unlisted unless you want those extra calls and for strangers to look up your information online. 😉

  5. Am I the only one who has landlines that stop working when the power goes out?

    At work when the power goes out the phones immediately stop working so we whip out our cell phones to call the electric company.

    At home the Verizon Fioz guy said there should be about 12 hours of charge in the battery pack so the phone will work, and after the phone dies there is an emergency button we can make so we can still call 911 if the battery pack is dead so at least there is a back-up there, but my cell phone would last longer if I just charged it with the solar powered charger I have that I use when I hike/camp/travel in Africa.

    • Your office probably has VOIP phones, which is not a true landline. Most places I’ve worked have VOIP phones these days.

  6. We’re in the same boat where we have never had a landline, but now it seems like it might be a good idea with baby on the way. It would have to be a true landline, not through the modem, because we’d want it to work in power outages.

    Aside from the points everyone has mentioned here, I worry about those late night emergency calls. How many times have we left our phones on silent all evening? What is the likelihood I am going to hear my cell phone in my purse in the kitchen in the middle of the night when a family member has an emergency? This is just one more thing pushing me toward a landline.

    Also, it would be nice to have a household number for neighbors and others who might like to talk to any members of our family. How soon will you end up buying your child a cell phone if you don’t have a landline?

  7. I’m not sure about other states, but here in CA i was able to get ‘measured rate service’ for $12.37 per month (after taxes it’s less than $20 per month). No long distance, but I get an allowance for local calls (I’ve NEVER gone over). and of course, incoming calls are free.
    call and ask – it’s available to everyone! or dig deep on the website – often they won’t even offer this option right off the bat. and beware – if you call to downgrade, there is a fee, but the amount you’d save over a year more than makes up for it.

  8. I’ve kept a land line through every move since I left my parent’s home for all the same reasons everyone else listed. However I have one question for everyone: am I the only person left with an original rotary phone in working condition? It even plugs into the wall with the three funny prongs. The thing has to be 50 years old! It’s pretty damn awesome.

    • I had an early-’60s rotary phone! I couldn’t find a modern phone that didn’t have a too-loud, too-shrill ring, so I bought a vintage phone. I sold it recently, though, since I won’t be getting a landline again.

    • I have one too! It works, but is currently not connected, because we have an all-in-one deal and thus a VOIP landline. 🙁

  9. Like many people of my generation (late 50’s) I’ve always had a landline because it’s far more convenient in some situations–but I also have a cell for when I’m away from home. With my family all spread out it’s just easier to keep track if we have both!

  10. And Isabella–having grown up with that kind of phone, I really prefer the buttons! much quicker to dial. I admit it’s quicker to make a mistake, too, but when I’m in a hurry…!

    • Ruth – so true! I groan whenever I call my mother because her phone number is full of sevens and nines. But my cordless phone is so unreliable, the battery runs low after 30 minutes of talking. I suppose it’s time for a new battery – but this alone is really irritating!

  11. I was forced to get a landline when cell phone reception in my home went from four bars to one bar overnight, my provider wouldn’t do anything about it, and my extremely paranoid mother wouldn’t stop screeching about not being able to get me on my cell phone after work.

    Not only was my landline unreliable and prone to outages (I had to have the phone company repair it several times), I received countless harassing phone calls for two different people who’d had the number before me (the phone company wouldn’t give me a new number b/c there was a shortage of numbers in that area code, if you can believe it).

    I got charged $25 a month to have my privacy invaded, my right to peace and quiet blatantly disregarded, and still have nothing remotely resembling a reliable emergency phone (the connection was so weak a 3.4 tremor knocked it out). Waste of money. Plus, I had no choice of landline providers, and I don’t believe in supporting a monopoly if I can possibly avoid it. I’ll stick to cell phones.

  12. I kept a corded battery operated phone when I lived in FL. I used it when we had hurricanes come through and the power was out, but the phone lines still worked. Now that we are in PA, we have a ‘home cell phone’. We use it as our home number, but can take it with us as a cell phone if we need to- like this past weekend at the Fall Festival, my 10 yr old took it and walked around with his girlfriend (and her mom), then he could call us when we needed to meet up. Much as his campaigns for his own phone, this is the closest he’ll get until high school.

  13. I iwish we had one this weekend!

    We did a Home Exchange with a family from Montreal. They only had a desktop and my husband wasn’t willing to leave his precious bajillion dollar laptop with strangers, so the people staying in our house were without a computer during their vacation here in rural Cape Cod. Then she found out her company cell phone didn’t work in the US. She had assumed she could just use our phone to make ferry reservations, check dinner times, etc. Problem is, we only have cell phones!

    I didn’t want to leave this poor woman and her 4 year old daughter with no computer and no phone in a strange area where they barely speak the language, so I ended up leaving my cell phone in case she had an emergency. But…my grandfather had a stroke while I was in Montreal and because I didn’t have a cell phone, I didn’t get the news until 5 days later!

  14. We did exactly the opposite! we kept the landline and ditched our cell phones! It is amazing how I can FOCUS when I grocery shop and such. We have a prepaid for traveling and road emergencies, but it hasn’t been used since last year!

  15. I wish we had a landline when I had our youngest child. Calling 9-1-1 from a cell phone doesn’t always get you the local cops/EMT/whatever. So while I was having our baby, my husband had to dial and then redial 911 to get the right department on the line. By the time he was talking to the right people our baby was born.

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