Do I Still Need a Landline?

Q: My landline is rarely used and I’d love to save some money. Should I lose my landline? 

A: Landlines are quite outdated. But, before cutting the wire, read up on the main reasons people cling to their landlines — and why some of those reasons may not actually matter. 

1. Communication during emergencies 

If a power outage hits your area, your cellphones will eventually run out of juice. Your landline, on the other hand, will keep you connected to the outside world even when the lights go out. 

Why this may not matter: Many newer landlines actually won’t work in a power outage. Older landlines, which are connected via copper wires, will almost always work in a natural disaster since they don’t depend on electricity. However, if your phone line is newer, it’s not so simple.

Most telecommunication companies don’t use copper wires any longer, since copper isn’t great at transmitting signals for cable TV and internet. Since most telecom companies offer bundled services, most use a line instead of copper wires. These lines transmit phone service over the same cables and wires used for the home’s internet connection. This means that, when the power goes out, so does the phone line. 

2. Let 911 find you

Landlines help emergency responders find you quickly. Calls from cell phones are harder to trace and, when every minute counts, you don’t want 911 wasting precious time trying to determine where you are.

3. Call quality

Unlike cell phones, landlines rarely make your voice sound tinny, they won’t suddenly drop your calls, and they’re hardly ever guilty of filling your phone line with static.

Why this may not matter: If you have excellent reception at home and your service is impeccable, you can have clear, perfect conversations, even through a cell phone.

4. Money saved

Holding onto your landline can save you money each month. Lots of telecommunication companies offer special deals on service bundles. If you cut the landline, but still want to keep the other services, you might not be eligible for that deal and you can end up paying more each month for fewer services.

Why this may not matter: If you don’t bundle your telecom services, this won’t apply to you.

5. Cheaper international options

Landlines often offer fantastic international plans that can make overseas calls affordable.

Why this might not matter: If your family and friends live in the U.S., and you rarely make calls overseas, this factor might not make a difference to you.

6. Share a family phone

It can be expensive to get each family member their own cell phone.

Why this might not matter: If each child already has their own cell phone, or you take advantage of a cheap family plan, this may not concern you.