Home phones: Is it worth having one?

Almost everyone has a mobile phone–we use them for just about everything. In fact, they’ve become so common that many of us often forget that landlines still exist. Come to think of it, we may even ask ourselves if it’s worth paying for a landline that we hardly use. The fact is, there are many benefits that come with having a home phone. Here, we’ll look at both sides of the argument.

Pros of home phones

  • Cell Tower Traffic and Outages: Everyone knows how long it can take for a text to go through on New Year’s. This is a perfect example of how cell towers can get bogged down with heavy traffic. According to Quick And Dirty Tips, land lines are less susceptible to these jams as they still operate on older lines. Let’s face it: cell towers can even go down, and a home phone can be a great backup.

  • Power Outages: Today, it seems that the world comes to a halt when the power goes out. While cell phones and other devices are battery-charged, blackouts tend to be unpredictable, leaving you vulnerable to a dead battery at the worst time. TDS Telecom explains that phone companies have backup systems that power landlines. Without any power, knowing you have a reliable backup is even more important in the case of emergencies.

  • Emergencies: Speaking of emergencies, people forget that calling 9-1-1 still leaves the dispatcher with the responsibility of identifying your location. Quick And Dirty Tips also explains this process is easier with a landline, as that location is static and associated with an address. While dispatchers can still identify cell phone locations, the process is easier with home phones.

  • Consumer Protection: Unlike the internet, landlines are a public utility. As such, the New York Times explains that customers therefore have certain rights that don’t come with cell phone plans. Phone companies can’t turn off your landline service if you’re one month late on your bill, for instance.

  • Call Quality: While cell phone call quality has certainly improved since its early days, landline quality is still considered to be superior. Cell phone calls are more likely to drop. For people working from home, reliability is very important for business meetings and appointments.


Cons of home phones

  • Monthly Costs: It may be obvious, but it’s still worth discussing. For many, the few calls a month from landlines aren’t worth the amount of their monthly bill. If your calls are limited to distant relatives and friends, long-distance fees can also add up. With family and data plans available today, it’s easy to manage multiple cell phones at a reasonable rate. However, take into account whether your phone is part of a bundle pack with internet or cable. Consumer Reports explains that removing your landline from a bundle will result in minimal savings.

  • Landline Source and Support: While home phones can be a great backup for emergencies and power outages, it’s important to note that not all landlines operate the same way. Apartment Therapy explains that some carriers require landlines to go through modems nowadays. In this scenario, no power means no landline. Due to lack of use, some carriers may have lowered landline support. Reach out to your provider to make sure your home phone will work during power outages. If not, it may be worth reconsidering keeping your line.

Overall, there are many benefits to still owning a home phone. For many, having a reliable backup line is worth the monthly bill. While it seems that both land and cell phones have a place in today’s world, it’s up to you to analyze your own situation and see if the landline makes sense in yours.

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