Memories of the way we used to call

When was the last time you called someone using a landline phone? For me, it was nearly 3 months ago. I remember the call because I had to take the phone out of the box and plug it in in order to use it. Since then, it has sat idly on my desk collecting dust.

Do landline phones have relevance in today's world when cell phones are a staple in nearly 75% of households?

If you're a part of the growing percentage of American's who have opted out of their landline service, the message is a clear and resounding "NO!"

I always feel bad when trends come to an end; when a television show goes off-air, when a fashion fad dies, and when a staple of society loses the technological battle and fades to obscurity (I'm still mourning the loss of the VCR). Even if I have no particular affection for the trend or item, it makes me sad to see them go.

But alas, the landline phone companies are finding themselves unable to compete with the technology of the modern cellular devices, which have become so much more than phones and more like personal assistants in our pockets.

In a few years, the landline phone will take ranks with such other obsolete pieces of technology as the Eight Track, the Betamax and that 90s staple: the pager.

Goodbye fair landline. I barely knew ye, but will never forget the revolution you started.



3 comments about "Memories of the way we used to call".
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  1. Denise Anderman, November 17, 2008 at 11:20 a.m.

    Do you promise it will just be a few years? I live in LA and my neighbors and I still can't get reliable voip and cell service at home. I would love to get rid of my land line but it proves to be the only consistently reliable phone service available.

  2. Elaine Middlestetter from Concept Company, Inc., November 17, 2008 at 2:04 p.m.

    I totally agree with those of you who don't see the end of land line use that soon. There are too many spots where the cell reception is bad - and I can pay for one land line and anyone in the household can use it for the same low price. Individual phone numbers and pay by the minute are expensive! And the more users that come on will only make the reception reliability that much more unreliable. I have a cell phone, but it's only for emergencies and quick calls for convenience. For longer conversations, I still prefer the solid reception and clear audio of a landline.

  3. Kevin Laverty from Verizon, November 17, 2008 at 5:57 p.m.

    Well, the limitation to wireless is line-of-sight to cell tower, tall buildings and the ubiquitous weather. The landline is becoming more of a data line first; the voice service over it is less relevant with a couple of exceptions.

    First, it remains the absolute best way to assure that your address is picked up on 911 calls. Some progress has been made with cable's VOIP phone service and will continue. Likewise GPS is getting better for wireless locates.

    Second, assuming you have a copper landline, when power goes out, the phone company typically has an immediate 48-hr. backup in place and can then use generators to keep the service running. Most cell tower sites have generators, too, BUT if it is an immediate crisis, the landline is still the most reliable.

    In any event, as wireless expands its data capabilities, people will have to decide if they want the 'ultra' broadband of a Verizon FiOS fiber-optic connection or Cable's faster services v. typical broadband connections of 3M - 8M download stream.

    More and more, the young are turning to the Internet to watch their TV favs rather than have a cable service

    So, to the extent that watching a video stream on a 15-17 in. monitor becomes the preferred medium, wi-fi, 3G, EVDO and other broadband streams may be sufficient for the young, along with their wireless voice.

    This is no secret and was seen coming 20 years ago by the fixed-line phone companies. Wireless IS the future - for most people, and particularly in the developing world where the cost to build a landline infrastructure is prohibitive when compared to Wi-Fi/Wi-Max

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