Well, we finally took the plunge. Goodbye landline. We are now wireless only at our house.
Take a look at my first telephone, the venerable Western Electric Model 500, shown above. Both of us were born around the same year. For the first few years, you could only get a black phone. You may remember the old joke that your phone company would give you any color phone you wanted, as long as it was black. Real colors arrived in 1955 but took longer to be adopted in Canada. This thing was really well built, surviving all but the most destructive children.
Phone networks started up in the 1870’s and their growth was exponential into the 20th century. Until the 1980’s, in most countries, you could not actually buy your own phone. Rather, you had to rent the equipment from your phone company. Once only a novelty for the rich, we reached the stage where we had one landline for every person in developed countries by 2000.
These days, you will find that nearly two-thirds of households have said goodbye landline. Until this month, we had both cellular and wired services. But it was time to cut the wire. Cell service is very reliable and landlines have lost their “lifeline” status since service went digital. The days of having dedicated wire, self-powered phone service are past.
For us, there were two reasons to say goodbye landline. First, it had become an unnecessary expense. Second, it had become an annoyance. Why should I pay a few hundred dollars a year just to get marketing calls that I did not really want? Probably 90% of our landline calls were junk.
Finally, earlier this year we switched to a Panasonic wireless home system that let us answer two cell phones plus landline on our handsets. So, once we ditched the landline, nothing really changed around the house.
Goodbye Landline – Keeping Your Old Number
However, we realized that many, many people still had our old landline number – in use for more than 20 years. It was part of our identity.
So, my wife talked me into porting our old landline number to my mobile phone. Bad news as far as the junk calls are concerned, we will keep getting these until the old number fades away. But, all in all, probably the right decision.
We learned some things along the way. First, porting the old number may not go smoothly. Mine didn’t. Second, you now have to consider length of calls, depending on your cell plans. You can use a lot of your minutes very quickly. Of course, we have to make sure that we keep our cellular phones charged to make sure we don’t go off the grid accidentally.