Are Cell Phones Replacing Landlines? - InformationWeek

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12/21/2007
02:46 PM
Elena Malykhina
Elena Malykhina
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Are Cell Phones Replacing Landlines?

It's not uncommon for a household to bypass landline phones and use cell phones as the primary means of communication inside and outside the home. In fact, U.S. households are forecast to spend more on cell phone services than landline services this year.

It's not uncommon for a household to bypass landline phones and use cell phones as the primary means of communication inside and outside the home. In fact, U.S. households are forecast to spend more on cell phone services than landline services this year.According to recent statistics released by the U.S. Labor Department, the average annual household cell phone spending was $524 in 2006, compared with the $542 that the average family spent on landline phones.

This year's numbers indicate that consumers spent more on their cell phone services than landline services. Analyst estimates show that there are about 170 million landlines in use nationwide, while there are nearly 250 million cell phones in use. This includes both business and residential users.

Here are five reasons why this doesn't surprise me:

1. I know it's obvious, but landlines are not exactly portable, whereas you can take a cell phone with you wherever you go.

2. Most college students don't use landlines when they move into a dorm; it's much easier (and cheaper) to get a cell phone.

3. Cell phones are personalized with ringtones, wallpapers, and applications, and they contain all of our contacts. It's often quicker to pick up a cell phone and press one button to dial a number, even if you're at home next to a landline.

4. It's a must-have gadget for people of all ages. Even seven-year-olds are getting cell phones (although I'm not endorsing the idea).

5. Cell phones are used for more than just voice communication. A cell phone is a fashion accessory, an on-the-go social network, a personal navigator, and in some cases, a mobile wallet.

With that said, I still feel that carriers charge way too much for services, especially when it comes to data. Add hidden fees and taxes into the mix, and that could be the answer to why people are spending more on cell phone bills.

Then there's the issue of reliability. Every carrier in the U.S. can improve their network coverage. Dropped calls, poor voice quality, and dead zones are still the major drivers for people to get a landline. Until that changes, I don't see landlines going away.

But what do you think, will cell phones ever replace landlines?

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