Ditching Your Landline Phone Service: Advantages and Disadvantages
While VoIP, cell phones and other wireless communication methods can save money, landline stalwarts don't believe a switch is warranted. They argue that the cost of replacement technology can easily eclipse the savings recouped by not installing cable. In addition, local- and long-distance phone charges may be cheaper, but that's not always the case. Making VoIP calls from overseas, for instance, can result in hefty charges.
Security is another factor for people to consider before letting go of their landlines. It's much easier for hackers to gain access to conversations on a cell phone or through VoIP than it is on a traditional phone line. Some people on the front lines of communications technology think that security concerns could prevent many companies from turning entirely away from landlines [source: Runner].
Interference may also pose a problem, depending on the quality of the landline's replacement. While the quality of WiFi and VoIP has improved significantly since the two technologies first came out, they're not 100 percent reliable. Some people claim crystal clear reception and say they can't differentiate between wireless and landline calls, but unless you carry around a portable cell tower, you probably still encounter dead zones every now and then.
A final issue that may prevent the landline's demise is simply nostalgia. Employers who do away with traditional phones often regret it when they see their workers straying farther and farther from their desks. The convenience of wireless communication can just as easily be a distraction, with salespeople chatting on the phone instead of focusing on their next sale. If landlines disappear, the days of sitting at your desk to complete the day's work may disappear, too.
If you can push those issues aside, the attractions of ditching landlines are hard to ignore: no more costly telephone switching stations, no more wires and fiber-optic cables stretching for miles and no more unsightly telephone poles (although you'd still have cell phone towers).
If you still find yourself having separation anxiety over the possible disappearance of landline telephones, though, you're not alone. Many people are fearful of what their disappearance might mean. Learn about some ways people could be (and already are) affected on the next page.