Landline phones are a reliable fixture in most homes, but with the advent of cellphones and the Internet you may not actually need one in your home. Here are some strategies for reducing or eliminating landline service.
Reducing Existing Landline Charges
You may be paying for features on your landline that you don't need or use. For example, if you are paying extra for a voicemail service you might consider putting a simple answering machine in your home. If you get regular calls from the same few people, you may not need Caller ID.
Phones over the Internet (VoIP)
Some people are moving from traditional landlines to phone service over the Internet (generally known as VoIP).
- Some VoIP providers sell packages that can replace your landline for a fixed cost every month. Depending on your needs this can cost significantly less than a landline.
- You can also find "a la carte" deals, which can sell you phone service for a small monthly fee plus minutes.
- There are also services like Skype which allow you to phone others from your computer. Skype calls between computers are free, calls to a landline cost a fee.
- People find VoIP attractive because it tends to cost less than a landline, because many VoIP providers can transfer your existing phone number to their service, and because it is featureful (for example, Caller ID tends to be included in the price). However, voice quality is variable, and VoIP depends heavily on having a good internet connection. If your Internet service goes down you lose your phone service as well. In addition, most residential internet plans limit transmission speed and the amount of usage you are allowed per month. Using VoIP requires that you purchase enough Internet capacity to handle it.
Some people choose to forgo landlines entirely and depend on their cellphones instead. Depending on your phone plan and usage, this may be an option for you.
One radical option is to eliminate phone service completely. If the people you ordinarily phone all use e-mail, then you might consider entirely doing without a phone system.
The advantage to this approach is a lack of interruption: you avoid phone calls from telemarketers and calls late at night. However, eliminating your phone can also make it harder for employers and family members to contact you, and many businesses still treat phone service as the standard communications mechanism. Still, eliminating phone service (and replacing it with a cheaper voicemail service) can be done.