Dan has been a homeowner for some 40 years and has nearly always done his own repair and improvement tasks. He is a licensed electrician.
Cancel the Home Phone Landline
While it is certainly possible to cancel a home phone landline and use only cell phones, there are problems that must be overcome. My wife and I finally "bit the bullet" and made the change recently.
For a long time I have drug my feet on getting a cell phone. I don't want to be connected 24 hours a day, wherever I am. If somebody wants me, they can talk to me when I'm good and ready. If I want them, well, almost everybody has a cell and I'll find a way to call them. In an emergency I am seldom more than an hour away from contact.
On the other hand, my wife decided about a year ago that she wanted a cell phone and finally got one with 200 minutes a month. She seldom used it, but I had to admit that it was nice. I also began to get the feeling that I was being held back in my job as a result of no cell phone. The company provided radios, but with the proliferation of cells they finally dropped them, leaving me with no communication with the office except to borrow someone else's cell. So for Christmas I got a prepaid cell (tracfone) with 200 minutes on it and as of June I have finally used those 200 minutes. We also bought a new car that had a built-in bluetooth to the cell which, for the most part, removes my objection to carrying one in the car. It is nowhere near as distracting as holding one to my head.
The falling economy coupled with painful layoffs had us considering doing away with our landline, but there were problems to be overcome. Our landline was bundled with my wife's cell, our satellite TV and our DSL internet connection. All provided discounts to the other services, so removal of the landline would affect the price of the other services. I did not want the hassle of changing our phone number with everyone. I wasn't sure we could do without a landline and keep the DSL. As much as anything I appreciated having a phone in nearly every room of the house, and that would go
Our landline cost $37 per month with unlimited long distance and local calls. My wife's cell was only good for 100 minutes per month, and mine was expensive to use. I still didn't use it very much (about 1 minute per day), but without a landline that would skyrocket. My cell was prepaid, and by now I had purchased an additional 3000 minutes - I figured that would last me at least a year. My wife's cell was $30 a month should we pick a different plan.
A few phone calls told me that if we dumped both the home phone landline and my wife's cell, our cost would go up $20 per month for internet. Some of that we would lose anyway, in a couple of months, but it would still go up. That, I figured, left us with $47 to buy another cell that would serve the purpose of a landline. I also found that I could lose the land line without affecting our actual internet, just the cost of it.
We eventually purchased a cell from Walmart (straight talk). It comes with 1000 minutes, texting (seldom used) some internet (never used) and no roaming for $30 per month. Well over what we use, but for another $15 we can get unlimited talk and more text and internet. We were able to port our landline number to the new cell - I hadn't known of that possibility and it solved the problem of notifying half the world of a new number. We still had to notify the very few that know only of my wife's cell, but that was only a handful and much better than if we had ported her number and dropped the landline number. The new cell runs on the Verizon network, which is not too bad and quite good in our area. For trips we can still use my tracfone, which is good nearly everywhere.
A Home Phone to use with Cell Phones
All that left only the lack of phones in the house. Our current cordless phones had "talking caller id" - it would announce the caller verbally, and I really liked that option. I had prieviously thought that with the proliferation of bluetooth connections someone ought to make a connection to go from a landline to a cell. It turns out they have. Either a gizmo to hook to existing landline systems or now a complete bluetooth capable system with multiple cordless phones. We chose to go with the complete system as ours was getting old and the batteries beginning to die. In addition one had been left in the rain and didn't always work.
We finally picked a Panasonic system as it was the only one with the talking caller ID and I love it. It also has other features that our previous system did not, such as call blocking. It hooked up with both our phones with no trouble and the switchover is seamless. We can pick which cell to call out on from any of the cordless handsets (for us the one with 1000 minutes). The transition to incoming calls is perfect; without looking we never know which cell is actually ringing.
The bottom line is that we have saved some $37 per month, increased the wife's cell capabilities enormously and have a new home phone system we really like. In the near future our actual savings will go up as we would have lost some of our promotional deals. Calls to 911 are of some concern, but if we're at home anyway I can certainly give our address and directions if necessary.
Our system is finally up and running. We had tremendous difficulty with getting smart talk set up - apparently I went online to register the cell phone, then called a couple of weeks later for an update on when the porting process would be complete. At that time the smart talk personnel started a new file on our phone that locked their computer system up and would not allow that particular phone to ever be used. It took over 6 weeks to get it all straightened out as no one there would ever take the time to actually investigate the problem - the computer system said is was done, so it must be done. I eventually took the cell phone back to WalMart and exchanged it for a new one and they were good enough to also replace the time card I had originally purchased even though it had been used. Fair enough - I had used the time purchased when I registered the phone, but as it was never registered the time could not be used - it was just a matter of convincing WalMart of that.
We have now had the complete system up and running for about a month. Everything works well, although I still have to turn my phone off and back on to register with the home phone system after using the bluetooth in my car. It just won't accept the fact that there is now a different bluetooth system trying to make contact. The talking caller ID won't work properly with the straight talk phone (an LG model) and while it will speak the number calling it won't give the person or business name. I'll keep trying there, but don't expect it to ever work as I wanted.
All in all, we've been pleased since getting the system set up and working. We were able to tell the home system to always call out on the straight talk phone (it's the one with all the minutes) with no problem, although we can still use the other one as desired by pushing the "cell" button on the panasonic system. I would suggest that people setting up a straight talk system forego their website to register it and use only their call center.
The porting process went without a hitch on the part of our landline provider; I had been concerned that we would lose our DSL line for the internet, but it didn't happen. We never knew the actual time that it occurred even though we were online at the time.
We are very pleased with the whole package deal; cancelling our home phone landline took a little effort but the bottom line is that we now hardly notice it is gone while saving some money at the same time.
© 2010 Dan Harmon
Stevie on December 08, 2013:
I live in Australia and got rid of the landline a couple of years ago.
I use my mobile phone for calls and have mobile broadband for
the net. My mobile phone plan cost for unlimited call to all landlinse and
any mobile carriers in Oz is $60 and net is $31 this is 3G . 4G is not in my area yet.
Peter B on April 25, 2013:
Further to Mobile or Cell phones over Landline phones. Years ago cell phones where one of the most dangerous pieces of personal electronic equipment you could use. From children to adults millions of people world wide (due to emissions from the cell phone) got brain tumours from radiation from these early phones. Main reason is these early phones emitted the radiation in a circular field, thus having the phone pressed to the ear close to the skull caused the said health problems.
However the modern day cell or mobile phones mainly transmit electronic waves from the back of the phone and away from the head making them much safer. So if you are thinking of ditching your landline in favour of a mobile phone there should be few risks with your health.
A word of warning for men. Many guys carry their mobile phone in either their trouser pocket, on a belt or in a top shirt or coat pocket. In most cases the phone is positioned with the rear towards the body and vital organs including the heart. So a good and safer method would be to make sure you place it with the back facing away from you.
So stay safe and call often
Dan Harmon (author) from Boise, Idaho on March 09, 2013:
Sounds like you have your act together, and have found a simple and easy to get what phone service you need.
Big companies often do that sort of thing in the US as well. Sometimes by accident, true, but far more often because they can get away with it. It can definitely take a class action suit to put a stop to it simply because it isn't worth a lawsuit to pay what they demand (although the $280 is a little out of that class).
Peter B on March 09, 2013:
There is a thing here in Australia called a Dodo Buddy Box. Basically it works like a wireless broadband, you just plug in your landline phones (Most older people prefer these) also your computer for Internetting. It only costs $10 per month and that gives you $10 worth of free calls and a small amount of Data allowance, probably half a Gig. Sounds great hey? Now the bad news, the overcharging by Dodo Internet and Phone Company is a blatant rip-off. A friend of ours who put one in his home in good faith. He goes over to New Zealand for a few months each year as he loves fishing and has a small what the call a Crib or Small home in a fishing village on South Island. He was away for 6 weeks and the Dodo buddy box was unplugged and stored in its original packing box over this period. However when he received the bills for time absent he expected a 2-month charge of $20. Instead the bills from Dodo amounted to $280 yes that's two hundred and eighty dollars.
It amazes me sometimes when large companies blatantly rip off customers (Don't they want to keep them and look after them)? Another thing these companies do not realize is that there is a massive class action going on that is not only costing them millions in lost profits and customers. It is a bit like free legal aid for everyone who has been ripped off. They call it the Internet and it works by ordinary people just telling the Truth to the world!
Peter B. on March 09, 2013:
I have 2 mobiles or cellphones. One I use occassionally and I originally put $30 prepaid on Longlife Plan. After 2 years of usage I still have $19 expiry date 2014. The second phone is what I call my security phone. It is small with large numbers or keys, has free radio, Alarm siren and mini LED torch all in the single phone. This I have had for 3 years and though I use it quite often apart from the initial $20 is completely free. If you have an alarm system on in your home and it goes off due to break in or fire it continues to ring and you cannot use your mobile dial out. If the worse happens I simply use my first mobile or cellphone to immediately call for help. On the second security phone only two people know the number so no corruption between an alarm call and someone calling on it. When setting up a computer to send a land line fax call once again I get it to call the security phone. If my good lady goes to Church, shopping, Bingo or wants me to pick her up from any pre arranged place she simply phones the security phone. As soon as I hear the ring tone I know it is time to pick her up. Now the way this phone never costs a cent and is literally free. Once every eight months I buy $20 worth of prepaid phone credit. I then simply swap the phones simm cards and use up the $20 credit on the No1 prime phone. Then when it expires just swap the simm cards back to their relative phones. Even though there is no credit on the security phone it is usable for several months until once again I use the switcheroo method. That way I get the use of one great phone and a second security phone absolutely free.
Sean on September 13, 2012:
Here in Australia some people don't have landline phones and i was surprised to hear don't have landline phones. In my perrents house we have three landline phone numbers one is used for a fax but we use it for out going phone calls and the other are incoming and out going phone calls for my fathers business and personal phone calls and i have my own landline for personal calls only with a private number and at my perrents holiday house i have two landlines in the house and with my medical condition i need a landline when calling 000 but we all have cell phones but we only use them when we go out and i do have friends that have a bar on the landline where they can't call cell phones due there credit history and they can get a landline but she can't afford a cell phone call costs prepaid or post paid and it is better to get a landline if you have a bad credit history with long distance calls blocked and toll free numbers are not free on cell phones here in australia and they are not cheap to call on a cell phone and it is easier to call 1800 numbers from a pay phone that are free to the caller.
Dan Harmon (author) from Boise, Idaho on February 26, 2012:
My only problems with StraightTalk have all been customer service - other than that we've been happy.
GiftedGrandma from USA on February 26, 2012:
We went for StraightTalk over a year ago and love it. We use MagicJack on our computer for the house phone.
Dan Harmon (author) from Boise, Idaho on March 20, 2011:
There are indeed some good reasons to keep a land line, and the extra security may be a common one.
We also had our internet and cable bundled, along with 1 cell phone and the landline, but have now lost all but the TV and DSL line.
RexWallace from USA on March 15, 2011:
I can't see getting rid of the home phone any time soon. With 3 kids ages 6 and under, I like the security of having a land line. Also, I need a phone line for the home security system. Home security can be done over cellular but it costs a bunch more. I do have the home phone bundled with internet and cable though. That seems to be the way to go. Before that, I was paying $50 per month for the phone line only with no long distance. They really get you with those "taxes and fees".
Dan Harmon (author) from Boise, Idaho on November 04, 2010:
Now that's a thought! I wonder how it will work out for everyone there - I wouldn't have thought the equipment would be compatible at all. Thanks for the information, Earnestshub.
earnestshub from Melbourne Australia on November 04, 2010:
It has been announced today that Australia will be getting a new method od internet delivery via the old analogue TV system. Instead of it being idle, it will be used to send the internet. I think it will be starting in Tasmania.
Dan Harmon (author) from Boise, Idaho on November 02, 2010:
Yes, I think there are quite a few people with the same idea. Landline companies are in a little trouble as more and more people get rid of the landline. We have been quite happy with our choice so far and it is saving money every day.
Meredith Clarke from USA on November 02, 2010:
Useful hub - cell towers have proliferated and we can get service most anywhere. DSL works and the "phone companies" make landlines ridiculous! I think you've got many supporters!
Dan Harmon (author) from Boise, Idaho on October 26, 2010:
You are more than welcome - I'm glad you found the information useful. So far we've been quite happy with the bluetooth cordless phones coupled with our cell phones and no landline.
Linda Rogers from Minnesota on October 25, 2010:
Thanks for sharing your story here as I think so many of us are confused on what works and what doesn't with new technology with phones. I just dropped the landline three months ago because no-one was answering it anymore. We all have cell phones, so the land line made no sense anymore.
Dan Harmon (author) from Boise, Idaho on September 27, 2010:
I know the feeling. I got a cell just for work purposes, but made the mistake of giving the number out and now everyone calls me on it. It's like a cell phone is a collar around your neck for the rest of the world - you are expected to be available 24/7. That was the reason I drug my feet so hard on getting one at all.
Beaker on September 26, 2010:
I can understand the foot dragging- I have a cell phone, but I keep it in my car. Now that I have one, everyone calls me on it and has stopped calling my land line. I keep trying to tell friends and relatives- I don't use the thing! It's for emergencies! But no one listens. They continue calling my cell and then email me to tell me that they called and that I haven't answered. It's unbelievable. I work at home, but it doesn't occur to anyone that I still have a phone there. I'd kind of like to dump my cell at this point...
Dan Harmon (author) from Boise, Idaho on September 15, 2010:
Too bad - we've been pretty happy with the new setup. You'll just have to move to a bigger city! :)
Granny's House from Older and Hopefully Wiser Time on September 15, 2010:
I have to keep my land line because our cell phones don't work from our house. good hub.
Dan Harmon (author) from Boise, Idaho on July 29, 2010:
I knew that but I didn't realize you could get a bluetooth connection from a cordless phone system to a cell phone. We like the system now that we've had for a while.
Sunnyglitter from Cyberspace on July 29, 2010:
Interesting. I never knew you could port a land line number to a new cell phone!
Dan Harmon (author) from Boise, Idaho on July 15, 2010:
That could very well be. In the last few years we have seen considerable upgrading on our systems, from faster DSL lines to fiber optics going in to everyone. I don't doubt that work on the exchange itself was part of it. The whole area now has wireless service as well, which was probably what was driving the improvements by the telephone company.
It's too bad you can't make the change - it really has been nice for us and seems like a better deal all the way around.
Kate Swanson from Sydney on July 14, 2010:
It depends on the telephone exchange apparently - the one in my area is too old.
Dan Harmon (author) from Boise, Idaho on July 14, 2010:
Interesting. My landline phone company didn't blink an eye when I told them I wanted to keep the DSL line but not the phone service on that line. Apparently it's taken care of at their switchboard or whatever, not at the house or at the actual phone line itself.
Kate Swanson from Sydney on July 14, 2010:
If we move house, I'm going to ditch the landline and just use the cell phones (we call them mobile phones here in Oz). The only people who ever call us on the landline are my mother-in-law (whom I'm sure we can retrain, even if she is 80!) and charities flogging raffles.
Unfortunately, our internet connection requires a landline (even though it's ADSL). To upgrade to "naked ADSL (which doesn't need a landline) would mean a big installation cost so it's not worth it right now.