One of the more popular pieces of advice to save money these days is to get rid of your landline phone and rely only on your cell phone. This may work for some people, however it is not something that you should take as gospel without considering your own unique situation first. You may regret your decision if you don’t think it through.
First of all, cell phones are not always cheaper than land lines. Many financial gurus insist that they are, but not always. If you get sucked into an unlimited cell phone plan with data service, you could be paying upwards of $100 per month, whereas a basic landline service might just cost you $20 or so. The question you have to ask yourself is what do you really need? If you make a lot of long distance calls the cell might be cheaper since most plans include long distance with your minutes. However, if you don’t talk a whole lot, the landline is probably the cheaper option. You can use the landline for local calls and get a prepaid cell phone and use it for the few long distance calls you have to make and come out ahead. This is what we do and our total phone bill each month is $25 (for basic landline service and the prepaid cell cost, prorated per month). There’s no way we could get cell phone service that cheap. You need to run the numbers and figure out exactly what you need and decide from there.
There are other situations where keeping the landline might make more sense than going completely cellular. If you have a monitored security system, the landline is the better choice. I’ve spoken with representatives from several security companies and they all say that, while cell phones and security systems can be made to work together, they are not as reliable as hard wired landlines. If you have something similar to Life Alert or other “I’ve fallen and I can’t get up” type of personal protection systems, many of those require landlines as, well. Before you drop your landline, check the requirements and reliability of any services that you are using for security and protection.
Call quality and reliability is another issue. We live in a donut hole between two towers where cell service is flaky. It works, but the quality is lousy. Since I run a business from my home, I can’t be constantly asking clients to repeat themselves because I missed every third world. I also don’t like having to ask friends and family to repeat themselves, either. Before you drop your landline, make certain that you are happy with the call quality and that it is reliably good, no matter the weather or time of day. Cell phones often don’t work in disasters, either. Because we live in a hurricane prone area, we’re better off with a landline. Never has the landline not worked, but the cell phones have failed us.
You may also need a landline if you want to support your home or business with great DSL service. Here, DSL is our best high speed Internet option. However, our carrier (and we have no carrier choice) requires that we keep the landline in order to get DSL. The only other option is satellite Internet or cable, both of which are substantially more than DSL. We need to keep our landline to get the best price on Internet. Our phone and Internet combined is $60 per month. Cable Internet would cost $50 per month, plus we’d still have to do something about a phone. Satellite Internet is $100 per month and by far the costliest option. Keeping our landline saves us money in this case.
Going all cellular might be a good option, but it may not be the cheapest option. There are also other issues besides cost that you should consider before you make the leap. Take your own preferences, needs and lifestyle into account before you decide.