Survey says more households with cell-only than landline-only

August 28, 2007
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In a survey of 13,000 homes, Mediamark Research found that 14 percent of homes had only a cell phone and no landline, whereas only 12.3 percent had a landline and no cell-phone.

Based on the comments around the net on this survey, it’s clear the trend is age biased, something confirmed by analyst Andy Arthur “But there’s an older group that will never give up landlines, and will never accept the new technology.” The arguments of landline vs. cell-phone tend to be around safety and reliability (availability) with some people saying cell-phones won’t work in emergencies and others saying landlines are just as likely to not work.

I think it ultimately comes down to whether you see it as a good thing for your “house” to have a phone number. One poster said it simply:

One word: babysitter. If we’re out of the house, and something happens to one of the kids, I don’t want to rely on the babysitter to (a) have a cellphone and (b) have it adequately charged.

To the reliability in an emergency situation, I don’t think it’s smart to rely on any single thing. If it really matters to you, then have as many ways to contact people as you can, mobile phone, landline, and even Internet phone and IM, which are probably as likely to work in an emergency as either landline or cell phones. As to whether a landline or a cell-phone is more likely to continue to work or not, there is no clear answer – don’t believe the hype or myths from either camp. It depends on the specific emergency and there is no cut and dry answer. That’s why, if you really care about that issue, you should have both. Otherwise simply accept the risk that you might be out of touch in an emergency.

I still find value in having a separate number for the house (or household) and other conveniences of a fixed phone. But that’s my situation today (with a child still living at home). Many people are in a different situation. The following comment provides a good understanding of why the telephone companies are losing their landline customers though:

The land line is reasonably enough priced that I *would* have one except for the OVER ONE HUNDRED PERCENT taxes and fees which make it unreasonable!!! Yes, the base landline here is $12/mo. There is another $14/mo in taxes and fees.

Greedy archaic landline companies need to get with the times. They’ve lose me for good, but they might be able to stem the tide of people dropping landlines if they act quickly. HAHAHAHA who am I kidding – they won’t do anything and then they’ll ask for government money to bolster their failing profits and bail them out of trouble.

It’s a good point. The telephone companies are going to have to do something, something beyond the stupid triple-play and N-play marketing gimmicks. How much longer will I continue to find value in that overpriced landline service and how long will I stomach those unruly bogus “taxes and fees” (they are not really taxes, but simply profit for the telephone companies).

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2 Responses to Survey says more households with cell-only than landline-only

  1. Tom
    September 27, 2007 at 10:05 am

    I think what is signifcant here is not so much cell phone versus landline. But that voip will never really be a replacement for a landline; but only a supplement for cheap calling.

    The simplicity of pluging a phone into the wall and having it work without worring about configuration, power, batteries, etc. is just such an asset to the old fashioned landline.

    Cell phone will soon offer unlimited talk time. It is hard to see the possition of VOIP for household aftewr that.

  2. Mnoj
    October 1, 2007 at 7:14 am

    If I were not personally a direct protagonist in the debate, the Ooma vs. PhoneGnome thing would be one of the most interesting things going on in VoIP right now and I’d sure have some things to say about it here. Unfortunately, my direct involvement leaves Mr Blog out of this rather fun topic for the most part.
    FierceVoIP did interview me last week, and that went on their site today (see PhoneGnome answers ooma’s call). Many thanks to Senior Editor Deborah McAdams for giving me the opportunity.

    I’d certainly like to see more real-world PhoneGnome users jumping in, as a lot of the comments seem to be of somewhat "questionable" origin, IMHO, with out-of-date information and suspiciously consistent falsehoods, almost as though they are all the same person or working off the same script.

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