Can you hear me now – Landline vs Cellphone

Does this sound familiar? Perhaps you heard it on a commercial for Verizon wireless


The great debate to keep the landline or not to keep.

There are some valid points to look at.  For the record I do have a smartphone and a landline.  At one point in time, I wanted to get rid of the landline, but could not convince my husband to do so.  After much research I agree with him (mind you that is for now, eventually I know landlines will go by the wayside like 8 track tapes and floppy disk drives).

One of my valid points is looking at it from a safety issue.  Here is one example where landline service was the winner hands down.  On September 11, 2001, when disaster struck New York City, tens of thousands of people were calling 911 emergency and the volume of calls flooded mobile towers. The calls would not go through because of the lack of frequency, so the network crashed. The overload of data signals not only delayed communications, but it also slowed down the response time of police and fire departments because they could not properly communicate.  Thank goodness for the landlines.

Knowing where the phone is during an emergency is crucial. The time it takes to find a cell phone can feel like an eternity when time is critical (and, what if the battery’s dead and you don’t have your charger? Or it’s in the car?).  I am notorious for misplacing my phone.  I put it in a pocket and hang the coat up, or set it down and someone moves it.  I am not one of those people that cannot take a step without having it in my hand.

With a landline, you never have to worry about whether you have minutes left or what to do when your battery dies.  If you have a landline, most likely you have multiple phones plugged in, so there’s always another one ready.

Can you hear me now?

Comparing talking on the landline phone to when communicating via cellphone, you can enjoy:

  1. A crisp, crystal clear connection 24/7/365
    — OR —
  2. Dropped calls, constant buzzing, and wondering if the other person can you hear you

I have a vehicle with a hands free phone system that allows me to pair my cellphone to it.  Often I get people saying “can you talk a bit louder?  “What did you say?”

A landline connection offers you the highest quality voice transmissions – all the time – anywhere in the comfort of your home.

The power’s out – not your conversation

When the power’s out, a landline phone connection will work more than 99.9% of the time. It’s required by the FCC. This means you can still reach 911 and friends and family; they can all reach you too. Even if a major storm (tornado or hurricane) comes through the area. It might take out the cell tower, but it can’t take out the underground phone lines.

Get Free incoming calls

All incoming calls are Free on a landline for as long as you talk, no matter what time it is. No network to sign up for. No limitations. No worries about running out of minutes listening to mom talk about Aunt Judy, Uncle Dave, or Grandpa Jim.

If you think the price of your local phone service is too high, check again. New bundled pricing and other incentives are making the traditional landline cost effective (really, it’s true.)  We have High speed Internet service thru our cable company and it bundles our phone line.  We get unlimited long distance calls.  The price is very good too.

Make a statement

Your phone can double as home decor, or serve to enhance it.   It can be a conversation starter.  I have a Tasmanian Devil Phone that gets lots of comments.  With so many designs, colors and styles to choose from, your landline phone can be a work of art, a reflection of who you are… not just a security net (now that’s a good deal!).

What are your thoughts for Landline Phone service?

It is not a matter of when it will become obsolete but more a pondering of the upsides of having one.


16 thoughts on “Can you hear me now – Landline vs Cellphone”

  1. I switched from the normal wire telephone to Voice Over Internet Phone via cable, since my Internet Provider offers both (wire / cable), and the download speeds are higher using cable. The only down side is I require a UPS to keep the modem running when the power goes down so I can have the phone service (it’s VOIP).

    For those who use the Internet to download files, there is a need to a wire service. Can a Cell service offer over 200 Gig of data a month for a low cost of under $50? Cell phone are an excellent tool, and ideal for many users, but I prefer the wire (cable), and believe they will live on for years.

    Currently there are four sources available for people to obtain TV service. The ancient TV antenna, Cable, Satellite and Optic phone line. Both Cable and Optic phone are wire services (go figure), Mindblower!

  2. I live in a perpetual dead zone for cell phone use, a mile drive in either direction will bring up several bars, so I rely on my land based phone through Suddenlink for my communication needs. Daniel.

  3. Sherri is making the common mistake of confusing with digital services the “plain old telephone service” (look up the phrase on Wikipedia), or POTS, always known as “landline.” POTS is a voice-grade analog service and its infrastructure dates back almost a century. Everything else isn’t.

    Her cable phone service is VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) and even thought it drops in by a wire, it’s not a landline, it’s not up to 24/7/365, and it’s subject to digital compression algorithms plaguing cell phone conversations (but not as badly in that cells also suffer the added problems of radio propagation).

    If Sheri would check the fine print of her Internet/phone bundle, she will see that “99.9% of the time” is not in the contract; service during wide-scale power outages is not guaranteed, even for 911. And VoIP (or cell) does not provide *exact* location to the 911 dispatcher as does POTS.

    POTS has already gone “by the wayside like 8 track tapes and floppy disk drives” for all but the most remote regions or grandfathered customers.

    1. Haakon, you seem to know what you are talking about but I disagree entirely. Maybe I am wrong, it wouldn’t be the first time.

      Here in Australia anyway, the term “Bundling” does NOT necessarily include a VOIP service and does not negate the landline. It merely means that the landline charges are paid to the ISP rather than to a telephone service provider. Nowhere does Sherri say that she is using a VOIP service, in fact she makes it very clear that she is still using a landline.

      I can’t speak for the U.S. but here in Australia, the vast majority of homes are still using landlines. I suspect that may also be the case for the U.S. but maybe Sherri, Richard or Dave can confirm.

      Here is a quote from the Wikipedia item you referenced relating to POTS:

      While POTS provides limited features, low bandwidth, and no mobile capabilities, it provides greater reliability than other telephony systems (mobile phone, VoIP, etc.). Many telephone service providers attempt to achieve dial-tone availability more than 99.999% of the time the telephone is taken off-hook.

      Seems to confirm exactly what Sherri is saying in the article.

  4. Sherri’s article highlights the very potent fact that competition has to be good for the consumer.
    Unfortunately we don’t have that luxury south of the border where I live and free landline phone calls are a pipe dream.
    In the UK though, where I was recently, my daughter has her satellite TV, internet and landline bundled with Sky Bsb (satellite TV operator) and this highlights again that Jim is correct because her landline is the same copper cable set up she’s had for years, instead now it’s contracted through Sky from British Telecom who are the landlords of the infrastructure.
    This is very common practice with utility firms today, much in the same way as your natural gas provider may now provide you with electricity as a whole package for both.
    Haakon is way off the mark here as Sherri gives no indication that she’s NOT using her original copper lines at all.
    Let your checkbook do the talking is a phrase that comes to mind and just watch them queue up to get you back at special rates that magically appear…..

  5. I think I understand what Haakon is referring to as far as the difference between a traditional landline and one that is bundled through your cable company. He is correct in saying that your “bundled landline” is NOT available 24/7/365. Let me qualify this by saying that this may not work the same in other countries or other types of cable companies. But for me here in the US, whether it is officially considered a VOIP or not, when your phone line becomes bundled it goes through a modem. When the electric is out, the modem is out as well. Therefore, you have no phone service. We bundled all of our services through Time Warner (formerly Insight Communications) and below is a paragraph from their website regarding my “landline” phone service:
    “Your Time Warner Cable Home Phone modem (known as eMTA) is powered by plugging it into an electrical wall outlet. In the event of an electrical outage, your modem will not receive power, just like a cordless phone, lamp or any other electrically powered device in your home. In this case, your Home Phone service, including any medical or security alert services (like E911), will not be available.”
    So even though I thought it was still coming in through my old phone cables and I was simply paying TWC now instead of ATT, that’s not really the case. It may be traveling over the old line, but with TWC’s modem controlling things, I no longer have phone service that I can rely on 24/7/365. Kind of makes the whole landline safety issue pretty pointless.

    1. by the way…Sherri does clearly state that her landline is bundle through her cable/internet service, so Haarkon’s presumption would be correct 😉

    2. If a bundled package includes telephony via a modem then that would definitely be VOIP, not a landline.

      To help complicate matters even further; here in Oz, my bundle includes Internet, landline, and VOIP. My landline remains exactly the same, copper wire from exchange to home and unaffected by blackouts or power outages. The only difference being that I now pay my ISP rather than the telecom company.

      We still receive incoming calls via landline but all outgoing calls are made via VOIP… unless the power is down of course. 🙂

  6. I live in a rural part of OR. While cell coverage (Verison) is pretty good & consistent, we do have more than our share of per outages, some of which knock out the cell tower, too.
    The landline phone wires carry the electricity that is needed for a connection, 24/7/365. If you have an emergency, you need a landline.

  7. With me living in the Georgia, USA … I have a U-Verse Internet only modem. My phone is still a landline, not VOIP. My TV service is through DirecTV, yet, AT&T still keeps sending me information about U-Verse TV and when I am on the phone, with them, they almost always try to sell me, the VOIP portion of the U-Verse Modem.

    Bottom line, I must keep a landline phone, because my Hubby has 11 Coronary Stents in his heart! Even if, the power is not out, VOIP can not be used for 911, since, the 911 Centers can not retrieve the street address and etc.. I also, have a Smartphone, but, again … What if, I am away from home and my Hubby needs to call 911??? When I explain all of this, to AT&T Representatives, they fully understand, IF, they are really knowledgeable. AT&T Tech Support gets it, right off … Some of the AT&T Representatives don’t.

    Now, what I do for convenience is one landline based phone, next to my computer and Cordless phones all over the rest of the house. Even my landline phone has a cordless phone, with a regular dialing base. I happen to LOVE my setup of the phones, around my home. It works for this household. :^)

  8. TrojanBUFDriver

    I use Skype a lot computer-to-computer. I use it regularly FROM my cell phone or tablet TO a landline phone… ONLY because the quality of the signal is better. (It still drops calls occasionally.) When I call using Skype cell phone-to-cell phone, the signal is almost always distorted. Sometimes it’s like talking with a voice in the bottom of a rain barrel. Other times, it’s the transmissions being “clipped”. Still other times, the connection is more like a walkie-talkie/radio than a real phone call. The same is true to a lesser extent of standard cell phone calls (w/o VoIP). But my calls using Skype AND direct cell calls to landlines are always crisp, clear, and high-fidelity.

    It’s the reason why I will never relinquish my landline. Reliability and quality are just not there yet. (Yes, I know that major metropolitan areas may be different. But not all of us live in those…)

  9. We too switched to our cable company for a cheaper landline but they do not have backup power like Verizon and the others. Our computers are on their own UPS’s and we have a backup generator but if TWC loses power or there is a break in the cable, we have to rely on our cell phones. I’m not aware of any underground cable transmission lines in this area.

  10. Not so much 10-15 years ago, today there’s not a provider on the planet today wanting to maintain two infrastructure SLAs for analog and digital when the latter is in place and the former now a revenue commode.

    I’d be willing to bet the farm Sherri’s coax cable is connected to a modem with RJ-45 and RJ-11 jacks for Ethernet and VoIP. When the coax cable was laid, if the ancient analog POTS twisted-pair cable wasn’t removed altogether, it is dead and history. If not, she should hold on to it for dear life until it’s finally taken away.

    Landline is the lay term for analog twisted-pair cable; for digital coax cable it’s… cable. Since they both look the same, almost, cable has unfortunately inherited the term. In a technical discussion, however, the distinction must be made.

    As for the reliability, digital depends on the power grid and the provider’s battery/generator setup, if any. POTS does not.

  11. I forgot to mention: I’m not referring to customers buying legacy POTS telephony from one company and broadband cable from another. But, if a telephony customer “upgrades” service to the telco’s “phone and broadband” bundle, POTS is bye-bye.

  12. Am I the only one that’s noticing the mistake? Here’s my comment where I spoke about cable, VOIP and relying on a UPS (Uninterrupted Power Supply).
    “I switched from the normal wire telephone to Voice Over Internet Phone via cable, since my Internet Provider offers both (wire / cable), and the download speeds are higher using cable. The only down side is I require a UPS to keep the modem running when the power goes down so I can have the phone service (it’s VOIP).

    For those who use the Internet to download files, there is a need to a wire service. Can a Cell service offer over 200 Gig of data a month for a low cost of under $50? Cell phone are an excellent tool, and ideal for many users, but I prefer the wire (cable), and believe they will live on for years.

    Currently there are four sources available for people to obtain TV service. The ancient TV antenna, Cable, Satellite and Optic phone line. Both Cable and Optic phone are wire services (go figure), Mindblower!”

    BTW, Sunday, January 4, 2015, I suffered a power outage lasting over 12 hours. Previously I tested my UPS and believed it could work for over 24 hours. I was DEAD wrong. Guess the few extras I added caused the added drain, or a tiny slow drain took it’s toll on the UPS. I’ll need to either add another battery or UPS so I DO NOT loose phone service, Mindblower!

  13. wow, lots of dialogue going on here, this is good. My cable modem has a battery backup, but it does not last a long time. Hence a cellphone comes in handy. Where I live it is rural but my home is only 14 years old, so my house is wired well when the internet is up & running which is most of the time. I will hang onto the landline as long as possible as a backup. With elderly relatives it just makes good sense.

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