| Pros & Cons of Cutting the Cord:
Most wireline phone companies charge more
than what you'd pay for most alternatives,
and some are taxed more as well. There are
some locations where getting new wired phone
service is prohibitively expensive or even
impossible. Long Distance and extra features
like Call Waiting are normally included with
- More Features:
Cellular and broadband phones normally include
Long Distance, Voice Mail, Caller ID, Call
Forwarding and more, usually at no additional
charge. They also have Text Messaging and
various forms of data service which are unavailable
with a landline.
If you move your home more
than average (or
if it's on wheels), your phone
and your number
can stay with you. There are
- Temporary Usage:
You can have phone service
for the season
in a vacation home or cabin,
or on an extended
stay at a hotel or home of
a friend or relative
without installing a separate
- Unlimited Plans:
Most alternatives offer a plan
Unlimited talk minutes and Long Distance, including
cellular. Most cellular carriers have eliminated
Unlimited Data plans, although there are
some that include Data with some other restrictions.
You can easily set up an account
prepaid cellular) with either
no name or
an alternative identity.
- Fewer Telemarketers:
Nuisance calls are reduced
want to target customers in
areas. They won't know where
you are. Most
telcos provide your landline
number to telemarketers.
With cellular it's illegal...for
broadband, it depends on the
sets up your number.
- Internet Access:
Your wireless phone can also be your connection
to the Internet, either with an internal
browser or tethered to your computer, and
available wherever there is cellular coverage.
Wireless broadband is also available separate
from your cellular account.
- Wi-Fi for Multiple Devices:
You can get a cellular modem that provides
a wi-fi signal that can connect
to up to
5 separate wi-fi devices.
- It's Green:
Replace your fax with an Internet-based fax
service like eFax or MyFax.com and stop wasting paper and ink. (Give your
old fax to charity)
Some wired phone companies
just treat their
customers badly. Sometimes
it feels better
to leave...at any price.
If you need to call 911, public safety authorities
won't automatically know where you are, you'll
have to tell them. Also, calls with alternative
phones will not necessarily be routed to
the closest agency. Also, you won't receive
"Reverse 911" calls alerting you
to a public emergency in your neighborhood
unless your local emergency center allows
you to sign up your number and associate
it with a local address.
Some businesses will not allow
you to use
their services without a traceable
This includes credit card companies,
shops and a few others, although
is slowly being relaxed. Satellite
want a landline-like plug for
to call them each night. It
does work with
some broadband phone systems.
service can still work without
it, but you
will most likely pay an extra
Wired telephone services have come as close
to 100% reliable as is practical. Their network
has substantial power backup, redundant circuits
and years to get it right. Alternatives are
improving but their networks can vary significantly.
Cell sites and other communications nodes
have a limited amount of backup power. In
an extended power outage, such as after a
hurricane or snowstorm, the service may not
work, leaving you with no service. Corded
phones work in power failures. Cable phones
also have a lower level of reliability.
- Sound Quality:
Some alternative phones don't sound the same
or as good as a landline. While your alternative
phone may sound fine to you, it may be difficult
for others. Also, some broadband phone services
just dump their audio into the Internet resulting
in widely varying data travel times giving
you significant sound delays.
- Lack of Service:
You may be in a location where there are
no wireless broadband alternatives or may
have poor cellular coverage. This might be
rectified by adding a 'cell site' to your home.
- Broadband Speeds:
While there are some fairly
broadband connections, it may
be some time
before they will compare to
wired or cable
Cell sites can stop working
for various reasons.
Repairs often need to be made
on site and
may take time. Broadband services
one or more pieces of equipment
at your house
which you will need to fix if it fails. Wireline equipment
can normally be repaired at the central office.
Murphy's Law says breakdowns will happen
at the worst possible time.
- You Have No Backup:
Unless you have an extra cellular
if something happens to your
main phone or
its associated equipment, or
you can't just plug another
phone into the
Some alternative services only
offer a single
jack for one phone. If you
want service throughout
the house you either must go
wi-fi or cellular.
Otherwise, plan on using the
phone near your
computer or router. With a
cell phone you
need to keep it close to you
if your home
is large or on multiple floors.
- It Might be Difficult to Get a Job:
Some employers require a "Local"
number to consider you for
a position. While
you can change your out-of-town
number to something local,
there goes your
"Number For Life."
- Surprise Costs.
Since you normally pay for cellular by the
minute, you might talk a lot more than you
think. Savings may be less than you expected
when calculated long term. Broadband carriers
are not regulated like wireline services
and could make changes that you don't expect.
- You Won't Be Listed in the Phone Book.
Some directories let you to pay for a personal
listing, but others use that as a way to
keep you as a landline customer.
- Alarm systems.
Most existing dial-up alarm
work with broadband phone connections.
are other alarm alternatives,
- You May Not Be Able to Send or Receive Faxes.
In some cases, faxing is not an issue. In
others, you can't just plug in your fax machine.
A better choice is to to use a paperless,
web-based service like eFax or