The End of the Line for Landlines?

By  |  Thursday, September 17, 2009 at 8:39 pm

Old PhoneIvan Seidenberg thinks that more and more people are going to decide that they simply don’t need a landline telephone anymore. Which is an interesting take on things given that he’s CEO of landline giant Verizon. Over at the New York Times, Saul Hansell has posted a story in which Seidenberg says he thinks the future of wired communications will be all about using FiOS connections to deliver video. If people dump their wired phones in favor of using their cell phones as their only phones, that’s OK.

I can’t remember if I’ve told this story on Technologizer before, but I recently decided that the time was right for me to get rid of my landline and go with my cell phone full time (supplemented from time to time by Skype). After all, weeks go by when I don’t use my Comcast landline at all, and most of my incoming calls are wrong numbers or debt collectors looking for someone who apparently had the number before me. (I don’t ever give it out–in part because I can’t remember it.)

But when I called Comcast to cancel, the rep had news for me: The “triple play” bundle I subscribed to was such a fabulous deal that canceling the phone portion would…increase my monthly bill by four bucks. I’m still figuring out exactly how to respond to that, but for the moment I remain a landline subscriber and am trying to use it more to keep my AT&T minutes under control.

Anyhow, this is all leading up to a T-Poll (I did a similar one a few months ago, but I think things are shifting so rapidly that the results might be different this time):

 
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9 Comments For This Post

  1. Chris Heath Says:

    Harry,

    I’ve never had a landline (that was my own – that i paid for). I grew up with one, but when i went to college i eventually got a cell phone and never looked back – and don’t really see a reason to.

    Now, that said, landlines probably will never die out totally, but for personal use the cell will eventually become ubiquitous. Landlines may go all digital (ip based) as cell has, but to me a landline only means that it’s hardwired (not mobile). My work phone, for instance, is one of those fancy (for the 90′s) phones with features and park pickup etc and i consider that a landline. Basically a landline is for a location and a cell will be for a person.

    I tend to prefer the use of the term mobile phone (or mobile for short) instead of the ‘cell’ terminology. Using an adjective that is too technical (cell) instead of a more meaningful one (mobile) muddies the waters and gets us into these semantic rat-holes.

  2. Anne Louise Bannon Says:

    I have a landline, but need it for DSL access since cable service in my area bites the big one. That’s the only reason why I still have the landline and will probably keep it until I get a better delivery system for broadband and/or TV.

  3. Matt Sharpe Says:

    I have a landline, because you’re pretty much required to have one here in the UK in order to recieve ADSL, as far as I am aware.

    Costs ~£12 per month to BT.

  4. JDoors Says:

    In thirty years I have had exactly one operational failure of my landline (and that was caused by the events on 9/11). Damn the costs, if I ever NEED a phone to work, I’ll be glad I have that landline.

  5. Seattle DUI Lawyer Says:

    I have to agree with Chris. Land lines will never become obsolete because they are so effective in a work setting. As far as personal use, however, I can see cell phones easily overtaking land lines.

  6. heulenwolf Says:

    After waiting weeks for the tech to come out and “Switch on the circuit” for my first apartment after school, I gave up on land lines. I called the company back (from a pay phone) and cancelled the install. Then I got a mobile phone and never looked back.

  7. expandable cordless phones Says:

    Landline may dont have use on people who do not do business. But as far as businessmen aand other busy people are concerned, its a must. It’s impractical to use cellphones for business purposes.

  8. expandable cordless phones Says:

    We don’t think so. Landlines will forever be useful for working people. :)

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2 Trackbacks For This Post

  1. Heathbar’s Crunch » Semantic Phone Tag - A Link Blog By Chris Heath Says:

    [...] My response (via blog comment) to Harry McCracken's recent post on Technologizer, found via FriendFeed: I've never had a landline (that was my own Рthat i paid for). I grew up with one, but when i went to college i eventually got a cell phone and never looked back Рand don't really see a reason to.  [...]

  2. One quarter of homes use only cell phones | MyCE – My Consumer Electronics Says:

    [...] Cable companies, meanwhile, lure customers with so-called “triple play” packages, where the cost of phone, Internet and television isn’t significantly higher than Internet and TV alone. In some cases the triple play is actually cheaper. [...]