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Apr 22, 2022

(+) Throw Your Telephone Away

NOTE: The following article has nothing to do with genealogy. However, I have written about telephone cost reduction methods before, and some people seem to appreciate the articles; so, I’ll publish one more.

The following is a Plus Edition article written by and copyright by Dick Eastman. 

Do you need your telephone? Is it worth the price you pay for monthly service? I stopped using a regular telephone 22 years ago, and don’t miss it. Even better, I don’t miss the monthly bills I used to pay. Still better yet, I have a working telephone with me all the time wherever I am: at home, in the automobile, at the grocery store, at the doctor’s office, and even while walking down a street in Singapore. (Yes, I used the phone a number of times the last time I was in Singapore.) Now it seems that many Americans agree with me.

A survey by the National Institute of Health reports that the majority of US residents still have both a home phone and a mobile phone, but many are increasingly snipping the wires on their traditional home phone service in favor of a cell phone. The NIH survey reports that almost one in six households (15.8 percent) are wireless-only, meaning that the family in the household owns a cell phone, but there is no landline telephone.

COMMENT: I don’t think this is a good time to invest in stock issued by your local telephone company. Old-fashioned wired telephone service appears to be going the way of buggy whip manufacturers.

Above and beyond the cell-phone only families, even more Americans are switching to VoIP phones.

NOTE: A VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) phone is a telephone system that places telephone calls over the Internet. A VoIP phone may or may not use your existing computer to place the call, but you do need a broadband Internet connection. VoIP telephone systems include Skype, magicJack, Vonage, and others. I have written about those systems in past newsletters.

In a different study, TeleGeography.com reports that VoIP usage in the US has now reached 16.3 million subscribers. That’s 13.8 percent of all US households and 27 percent of all broadband customers.

If we add those percentages up, the studies would indicate that nearly 30% of all American households do not have a standard telephone; they use either a cell phone or VoIP phones or both.

I am one of those 30%. I used to have all three: a standard landline phone supplied by the local phone company, a cell phone, and a VoIP phone that I used mostly for placing long distance calls. (I make a lot of long distance calls in support of this newsletter, including frequent overseas calls.)

One day when paying the landline phone bill, I suddenly realized that I hadn’t used the landline phone in months. I use the cell phone daily and did use the VoIP phone occasionally but was not using the traditional landline phone at all. It took a few more months for me to talk myself into removing that phone, but I did so eventually.

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