Cancel Your Home Phone Landline, but Keep Your Home Phones and Landline Number
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