October 21, 2014

Still Have a Landline? Me Too.

On a recent Sat- urday night while my hus- band and I sat watch- ing a movie, my home was invaded by two men looking for a quick steal. I surprised them in action and they ran off empty handed. The first thing I did as they ran away was grab the landline phone we keep in our home office and call 911. I was able to get help in under 30 seconds. My other phone was left lying around the house and it would have easily been a few minutes to find it. The police were able to respond and catch the men that night.

According to a recent Nielsen Company survey, more than 17 percent, or 20 million, of all U.S. households lack landline phones and use only a cellphone. The research suggested that 20 percent of U.S. households could be wireless-only by the end of the year, the company said.

Nielsen also determined that:

• smaller households with just one or two residents are more likely to cut the cord than larger households;

• moving or changing jobs contributes to the decision to drop landline service. Thirty-one percent of cord cutters moved before they dropped landline service, and 22 percent changed jobs; and

• although cord cutters tend to use their mobile phones more than landline households, they still save an average $33 per month in a household with only one subscriber, minus $6.69 for each additional wireless subscriber in the household.

Turning exclusively to wireless isn’t for everyone, however. Ten percent of landline customers have experimented with cellular-only communications in their household but returned to landline service, Nielsen said. The primary reason is the need to use a landline for such services as security systems, satellite TV, pay-per-view, fax machines and the like.

We have always felt that a landline was an investment in safety. Keeping the phone near the kitchen in case of a safety emergency was part of our plan, we never thought we would be using it to catch criminals, but being prepared was what the landline was all about.