Disadvantages of going without a land line?

Help me make sure I’m not overlooking anything.

I’m thinking of entirely doing away with my land-line phone at home … you know, the “real” phone … and getting by solely on my cell phone.

Here are some pertinent details:[ul]
[li] My cell phone is dual-band, so it does both it’s normal PCS thing and analog, so it’s pretty versatile.[/li][li] I’m on good terms with my neighbors, so if something horrible happened and the cell transmitter wasn’t working, I’d have a good shot at being able to get to a land-line phone in an emergency.[/li][li] I don’t get or make that many phone calls anyway.[/li][li] I have a cable modem, so I don’t need the phone line for my Internet connection.[/li][/ul]
What am I not taking into consideration?

You seem to have all the bases covered except one: cost. How does the cost of your cellular service stack up against a land line?

My cell phone service is around $40 per month. Land line is around $25-30. But I should clarify: I’m currently paying for both.

Ok, I guess the next question would be:

Will your cell phone usage increase if you got rid of your land line. And if the answer is yes, how much will that increase your cell phone bill.

If it’s still comes under less than you’re currently paying for both, I don’t see any reason not to go for it. It’s a good way to save money with little to no hassle.

Yep, that’s what I’m thinking, Mauvaise.

My plan currently gives me 180 minutes for nights and weekends and 180 anytime minutes and includes long distance. Most of my telephone usage while I am at home is telemarketers. No joke. Most of my telephone usage while I am at home that I wish to be involved in I do on the cell phone anyway because it’s long distance.

So this is indeed shaping up to be an idea I could act on without much anxiety.


You could also check with your cell phone company to see if you could upgrade to a different plan that gives you more minutes that will still come under the price it would be for an extra land line.

Not sure if this matters to you or not, but I was under the impression that it was much easier for someone to eavesdrop on your cell/cordless phone conversations than it is over land lines.

If you plan on ever giving out any personal information over the phone, you might want to consider keeping the land line.


It is not easier to eavesdrop on a radio transmission than a landline one. Granted, the technology exists, but I mean easier in the sense of how many members of the general public know how to do that. If we’re talking about the FBI or NSA or something, then sure, they can easily stick their e-noses in at a monent’s notice because they have the technology.

As a first year electronics student, one of my first projects was a snooping device that could fetch the signals out of a standard unshielded transmission line (such as POTS). The signal itself is not hard to detect; add on a little processing & amplifying electronics and you can sneak up to anybody’s house and listen in on anybody’s landline conversation as long as you can locate the POTS pairs strung along the outside of the house.

However, having been in the field almost 20 years now and teaching circuit design, I still would be hard pressed to come up with a device that will grab your cell phone transmissions out of the air. I suppose if I wanted to spend big bucks I could probably find a GHz receiver/descrambler device in some high tech store that sells those parabolic microphones & pinhole cameras, but I wouldn’t call that easier than putting a shot glass up to somebody’s door and just listening.

It used to be quite easy to eavesdrop on cell phones when they used analog transmission. Quite a few radio scanners were capable, either right out of the box, or with simple modifications, such as clipping a resistor. It was also easy to pick up cordless phones by picking up transmission between the handset and the base, though the range at which one could eavesdrop was much shorter. Baby monitors allow similar eavesdropping to occur.

Most cell phones now rely on digital transmission and are much more difficult to eavesdrop upon. The equipment exists, but is expensive and not readily available to most folks.

As to living without a landline, I haven’t had one for three years, because I simply hate receiving phone calls. I have a pager with which a chosen few can reach me if need be, and a cell phone which is only turned on in order to call them back.

Digital wireless phones also use encryption, so if someone’s going to snoop on your conversation, it probably won’t be in real time.

I had the same idea, I bought a SprintPCS dual band phone with the intention of making it my only phone, using it for all my home phone calls. And of course, it turns out that my home is one of the only dead spots, I cannot recieve ANY calls when I am at home due to poor antenna placement by Sprint…

Man with a scanner checking in here. There are indeed certain frequencies with which phone transmissions can be picked up. I usually turn it on when I hear police/fire sirens. I am not sure if they are cell or cordless, but either way I hear some funny things from time to time.

“Ooooh, baby, I like shoulders. They get me so…horny!”

Just a run of the mill Radio Shack piece too.

Dunno about you, but my cable modem service isn’t 100 percent reliable. A couple times, it was pretty convenient to use my phone modem via my land line to Netzero when the cable modem was out of service. Not sure it’s often enough to warrant a land line, though.

Tis true, for sure. There are probably plenty of landline phones out there that are old enough to still be using analog AM or FM between the handset & base. But this brings up an interesting point: Even landline phones use RF to broadcast the signal between the handset & base. I have a set of walkie-talkie style headphones that I use when biking with a buddy so we can talk over a distance. I occasionally intercept conversations from people on their home phones when cycling down the street. If I use signal strength as a homing beacon, I can usually find the house.

So in terms of security, a move to a digital wireless phone will be an improvement!

WRT the OP: I dropped my land-line and realized, after-the-fact, that my satellite dish kinda requires a land-line to occassionaly check in with the service. Oh well.

I find something very romantic about the idea of telling the big old landline co. to shove off. I feel like I’ve been nickled and dimed for so many frustrating little charges. Here they spent big bucks laying down the infrastructure, but they’re still so inefficient and incompetent they still go down.