Monday, August 27, 2007

Cellphone only homes

I saw this in the NY Times today: Cellphone-Only Homes Hit a Milestone (via a mention by Stowe Boyd at /Message: The Future is Now).

The milestone is a natural consequence of two trends: a glacially slow decline since 2000 in the percentage of households with landlines, and a steep rise in the number of households with cellphones. Mediamark said 84.5 percent of households now have landlines, and 86.2 percent have at least one cellphone. The data was collected through in-home surveys at roughly 13,000 homes across the country.

It's kind of a confusing read in that they are basically saying that the number of people who have a cellphone and a landline has surpassed the homes that have just landlines. Okay, people have both--that is no surprise.

The more significant thing is that the number of cellphone only homes has reached 14%, which in my opinion is not particularly impressive. Actually, I find it quite surprising that the number is so low. If you broke that down by age demographics you'd see some numbers that would make you sit up and take notice, however.

We gave up our landline almost four years ago and I can't say that we've ever missed it. Everyone in the family has a cellphone, and as I said a year ago, nobody calls a house they call a person. Other than for DSL service, what purpose does a landline serve? Why do 84.5% of homes still have them? I don't get it.

10 comments:

quark said...

I don't get it either. I haven't had a land-line connected phone in years and I can't say I've missed it much. I use my cell-phone for all my audible communication activities, else I use text services like SMS, IM and e-mail. I'm communicating way more with SMS than I am with my mouth over the phone. I think this is a very strong trend here in Norway, but I don't have any numbers to back it up with.

Mitch Owen said...

I have considered giving up my land line many times.. but one factor keeps me from doing it. What happens in a power loss.. There is something simplistic and yet safe about a phone that does not require power to work... So.. for $30 a month.. I know I will be able to call my mom and tell her I am ok during a crisis. and Yes.. I know it is not a great return on my investment.. but it does give me peace of mind with respect to mom.

Peg said...

Here's one reason: Some of us(lots of us in my neck of the woods--central New Hampshire don't have cell service. We have to travel 4-5 miles in any direction to make a call.

Stephen Judd said...

What Peg said.

I have marginal cell service in my house...it works fine upstairs, but can get flaky on the first floor. I'm also in NH.

Anonymous said...

What Mitch said.

However, 1) I would make my mother pay the phone bill if I were to use it that way. 2) Replace "call my mom" with "call 911" - that's why I keep a land line.

Kevin Gamble said...

My cell carrier provides 911 service, and I think most do now. Am I confused?

Craig said...

It is simple why some have land lines, there is still a large part of this country's rural America that is not served by cell phone coverage. I live 20 minutes from a major city and my cell phone does not get a signal at my house. Kevin, you know why I leave you have been there. Did you cell phone work? So there is still value in having a land line as well as a cell phone. Now having said all that if I got cell phone service at my house the land line would be gone. I hope one day that will happen.

Greg said...

1) kids can burn more minutes than the cell plan will allow me to buy for the same money.

2) Satellite TV providers (mine is Dish) use it.

I've been *strongly* considering it.

Kevin Gamble said...

I find that my kids don't use that many talk minutes. Most of their calls are to home or to other people using the same carrier which doesn't use minutes. What they use a lot of, however, is SMS. Had to go to unlimited SMS minutes to satisfy their demand for texting.

The satellite use of the landline makes total sense. That would be something akin to the DSL argument as well. I buy that one.

I am curious how many rural areas have no cellular coverage. My phone did work at Craig's home, but it was marginal. I don't believe the EVDO worked though. I'm going to try to do some more study on this.

Mitch Owen said...

Kevin Gamble said...

My cell carrier provides 911 service, and I think most do now. Am I confused?

..

Yes.. Your cell phone will stop working with power dies.. both if you can not charge your battery.. or the cell tower goes down. A traditional land line.. using a not cordless.. no power phone will work despite lost of power to the home.. Just remember FRAN.. 5 - 7 days of no power.. cell phones would be useless..