Do you still need a landline?
These days there are all kinds of alternatives to landline connections. With the increasing reliability and coverage offered by mobile phones, along with advancements in internet-based video and phone services, you may wonder whether or not you really need to keep your landline. Well hold the phone, because landlines are not obsolete just yet.
Whether or not you dump your landline mainly depends on how much you use your internet and phone – and how you feel about call costs and reliability of service. Reasons you should probably hang on to your landline include:
- emergency services can pinpoint your landline location more easily than if you are calling from a mobile phone
- the ability to enjoy untimed local calls, as mobile phone users often have to worry about time-limiting calls to stay within the budget of their phone plan
- internet access for bandwidth-heavy internet users. Wireless internet is becoming increasingly popular, but if you download large amounts of data, then wireless can be slow and expensive. The cost of wireless data usage can often outweigh the added cost of phone line rental
- the ability to connect fax machines and house alarm systems
- there are no performance standard guarantees with mobile phones, whereas landlines promise around 97–98 per cent reliability
- some consumers may also wish to keep their landline if mobile coverage in their area is unreliable. Telstra claims to provide service to 99 per cent of the population, but that estimate may be difficult to validate.
An alternative to making calls on a landline is Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP), which is a low-cost alternative to both mobile and landline phones. As the name suggests, VoIP allows users to make calls over the internet, but, as with mobile technologies, there are some reliability issues and service providers make no guarantees that you will even be able to make the call, let alone the quality of signal once you’re connected.
Another option is a Skypein number, which allows you to make long-distance calls, as well as local calls at local rates. Naked DSL is a further alternative to being captive to a landline for your internet requirements, as it makes a landline internet connection possible without having to pay for line rental. This technology can still be expensive to set up though, so check with your service provider to see if it is available without exorbitant set-up costs.
So, before ‘hanging up’ on your landline, it is best to make a careful assessment of your phone and internet usage, including where you live, how many calls you make, the end destinations to which you make your calls, and how much internet bandwidth you use.
If you find that you are a heavy user of your home phone and internet, then it may be best to keep your landline. For those who make a lot of long-distance calls, then it may be a good idea to look into VoIP, as you will save money either way. And if you find that you’re a light user of the phone, you rarely use your internet, and you live in a metropolitan area, then it may be time to disconnect your landline and save yourself some dough.
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