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Landline Holders Increasingly Older, More Affluent 616

netbuzz writes "More than a quarter of the under-30 crowd has decided you only need one telephone — and it sure as heck does not plug into a wall. The trend towards an all-mobile lifestyle is accelerating, according to a new survey. Besides younger people, lower-income people are also more likely to have cut the cord. And while businesses may be a bit slower on the cell-only uptake, there appears to be little doubt at this point that the traditional landline will be joining rotary dials and party lines as a relic of the telecommunications industry."
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Landline Holders Increasingly Older, More Affluent

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  • by jbarr ( 2233 ) on Monday May 14, 2007 @11:45PM (#19125559) Homepage
    OK, I admit that I never caught the cell phone bug. I have one, but it's provided by work, so what model I have is their choice. I got one for my wife for emergencies and occasional use, and we talk with each other on it, but that's about all.

    So how do you handle extensions? You know, someone calls you, and you want to say, "Honey, pick up an extension." so you can talk together. Do you just 3-way the call?

    And how do you handle guests? Do you simply assume that if they want to make a call, they just use their own cell phone?

    I certainly have nothing against cell phones, I jut never really felt a pressing need.

    Oh, and how do you handle devices that need to "dial home" periodically? (ReplayTV box, DirecTV box, etc.)
  • Paul McNamara, I suggest you get a different job. I suppose you were paid for the nonsense you wrote.

    Cell phones are nowhere near as reliable as land lines, and all VOIP phones are worse. Not only that, but cell phone providers and VOIP providers save money by being unreliable, and there is no evidence that they plan to change their behavior.

    I think you know this. That makes your lies fraud, in my opinion.

    I guess your handlers call themselves NetBuzz because they think they are good at advertising. But they aren't. They and you are just liars, in my opinion.

    Everyone who needs reliable telephone service has land lines, and there is no evidence that will change in the near future.

    Anyhow, we don't want your kind corrupting our discussions of technology on Slashdot. Stay away.
  • by vux984 ( 928602 ) on Monday May 14, 2007 @11:55PM (#19125639)
    Its nothing to do with susceptability to advertising... the fact that its lower income, and under 30 makes perfect sense.

    Everybody likes the convenience of a cellphone... the younger you are the more conversant with technology you are, so you are more likely to have one. If you only have one phone - older people will have landlines, younger people will have cellphones. Just as in 1990 younger people embraced computer word processors while many older people still used typewriters.

    No surprise there.

    As for landlines being skewed against low-income its simple. If you can only afford one phone (or only wish to afford one phone) the mobile is infinitely more flexible. If I had to choose between cutting my landline (ok ok voip line) or cellular bill, it would be a no brainer - the landline would go.

    So no surprise there either.

    In my case the only reason I have even a voip line in addition to a cell is I run a small business and wanted an 'office line'. The voip bundles free N.A. long distance, good intl rates, caller id, voicemail, and some pretty decent call management features all for a price less than what I used to pay for landline.
  • by riker1384 ( 735780 ) on Monday May 14, 2007 @11:56PM (#19125649)
    That is sensationalist crap, the thing about landlines being obselete. Maybe young students or people with apartments, but come on. There are huge advantages to a landline. It's more reliable and jamproof, and if you want an extra phone you pay $10 at the grocery store instead of hundreds (and repeating that every few years as they get obsolete). The voice quality is better and it doesn't run on freaking batteries. It's on the wall so you always know where it is and you don't lose it in the couch cushions. I can't imagine having a house without phones on the walls. What the hell do you do if you have kids and you have to hire a babysitter? Leave her your cellphone? Then what do you call home with? You can call her cellphone from yours but then there's still no number for the household, say if the neighbors want to tell you there's a fire next door or a prowler. And so on.
  • by futuresheep ( 531366 ) on Monday May 14, 2007 @11:56PM (#19125655) Journal
    We thought the same thing until we had two periods this year with no cell service for a minimum of three days each. One was due to storms and flooding, the other was due to wind storms. Because we live a bit outside of our metro area, we were among the last to have cell service restored. We had relatives that had no way of contacting us to see if we were OK. No cell, no cable modem, no dial up because we didn't have a landline. Landlines were still working BTW, this was verified by a few people in town we talked to later on. So now, we pay $16.00/month for a landline, if only for the added security of being able to call 911 if we need to, and to be able to let our family know everything is OK. Landlines still have a place in this world, sometimes it takes an emergency to remember what that is.
  • OH PLEASE (Score:5, Insightful)

    by mdboyd ( 969169 ) on Monday May 14, 2007 @11:57PM (#19125661) Homepage Journal

    The business world has also seen an all-wireless trend - witness this project at Ford, for example - although the momentum there has been slower, no doubt because most businesses are run by people who are older than dirt.
    I'm sorry but when an author makes a misleading and uninformative statement like this it's bad journalism, even if they're trying to be cute.

    How about the slow adoption rate being because many businesses have their own PBXs and want to control their voice mail? For many companies, switching to wireless phones simply isn't a viable solution and probably won't be for a long time. Sure, they're more reliable than they used to be, but they're still not as reliable as POTS. Keeping track mobile phones may also be difficult. Example: My mom's work phone still had service over 6 months after she quit her job.

    Additionally, many companies would probably be reluctant to outsource their voicemail for security and confidentiality purposes. Besides, do you really want to answer work calls wherever you go? Talk about taking your work home with you. Work phones should stay in the office. If employees want to answer calls on the road, maybe their employer should consider some kind of call forwarding functionality. Juggling multiple phones for home/work/etc is not something I'm interested in.
  • by Animats ( 122034 ) on Monday May 14, 2007 @11:59PM (#19125673) Homepage

    I don't have decent cellular coverage in my house, and I live one mile from downtown Palo Alto in Silicon Valley. Five cellular stores (not counting the Apple store) within walking distance, and I have to go to a window to get more than one bar on the phone. Gigahertz RF doesn't go through trees, you know.

  • by MillionthMonkey ( 240664 ) on Tuesday May 15, 2007 @12:00AM (#19125689)
    Cellphones will not completely supplant POTS land lines for some time. I never use my cellphone if a real phone is around. The call quality is better, the calls are cheaper, and as far as battery issues are concerned there is just no comparison. You don't even need a battery at all with POTS. What makes POTS a pain in the ass is the separate monthly bill to pay, since most people now have a cellphone bill anyway. Plus, there is Rotary Phone Disorder to contend with. People get attached to the technologies they're familiar with, if they think they work well enough, and they won't want to waste time learning how newfangled technology works. Old people especially seem to get stuck to the form of telephony they're used to. My own grandmother was still using a rotary phone just a few years ago until I found her one of those art deco touch tone phones with the buttons in the same positions as the old rotary dial finger holes.
  • by tverbeek ( 457094 ) on Tuesday May 15, 2007 @12:12AM (#19125789) Homepage

    "there appears to be little doubt at this point that the traditional landline will be joining rotary dials and party lines as a relic of the telecommunications industry"
    Only when/if they fix the inherent problems that currently plague wireless telecom. If you care about being able to hear and be heard, and for your phone to Just Work when you want it to (rather than being dependent on how the ionosphere's behaving today and battery charge), there are still good reasons for holding onto a landline. Wire has benefits that - in many situations - outweigh the benefits of wireless.

    Yes, I am over 30... thanks for asking. I'm a member of the "hear a pin drop" generation of telephony users, whose standards appear to be a bit higher than the kids', and who just might have a bit of perspective that the under-30 set has yet to achieve. Don't get me wrong: I have and use a cell phone. But I have and use a landline more often, because I've come to depend on the features it offers... and which wireless does not.

    Maybe the teens of today will change their standards when their hearing starts to deteriorate. Maybe they'll just never know what they're missing... and not miss it. I don't know. But I do know that you'll have to pry my wired handset from my cold, dead fingers. And I don't plan for that to happen for another 40-50 years.
  • by fabs64 ( 657132 ) <beaufabry+slashdot,org&gmail,com> on Tuesday May 15, 2007 @12:18AM (#19125821)
    Can't really blame telstra, a company does that, tries to make money.

    Blame the silver-spooners for selling our goddamned infrastructure.
    The only thing worse than a public monopoly is a private one, and we don't need multiple networks.
  • by Doogie5526 ( 737968 ) on Tuesday May 15, 2007 @12:30AM (#19125891) Homepage
    One thing I do hate about cell phones is the quality of service is a lot lower. It's a big reason I don't have as many long phone conversations. I hate worrying about battery, signal quality, and if they heard what I'm saying.
  • pricing games (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ( 463190 ) * on Tuesday May 15, 2007 @12:50AM (#19126025) Homepage
    What cracks me up are the radio ads that go something like "Are you tired of your complicated cell phone plan? Well sign up for Verizular's new anytime family direct, and enjoy 1000 free anytime minutes for only $26 per month to the three people you call the most on even numbered weekdays. What could be simpler! Rates subject to change, void where prohibited, network maintenance surcharge and cost recovery taxes apply...etc"

    It's the same as credit card promotions, grocery club cards and coupons, mail-in rebates, etc. You and I may realize how pointless all these offers are, but so many people love playing the game and thinking they got a great deal by finding the perfect plan that was made Just For Them. Nobody does anything unless there's some game aspect to it - warfare, terrorism, finance, dating, business, taxes, politics, you name it. We are so desperate to play games that we'll create them even for things as ridiculous as cell calling plans.

    And more importantly for the industry, the pricing games allow them to avoid to avoid their service becoming a simple commodity. If the plans reflected their actual cost structure they would simply charge per bit, and fierce competition would quickly drive everyone's margins to nothing. But as long as they keep it a marketing game of adding ridiculous "value add" services and tricking you into complicated pricing traps, they can keep gouging.
  • by Jason Pollock ( 45537 ) on Tuesday May 15, 2007 @01:00AM (#19126121) Homepage
    Usually you can dial 911 even if you don't have a landline account, same goes for a mobile phone. Turn it on, dial 911 and you'll be connected.
  • by ianbnet ( 214952 ) on Tuesday May 15, 2007 @01:05AM (#19126173)
    ... specifically at the socioeconomic numbers. The article mentions how hard it is to survey people with only cell phones (being left out of polls, and such), and then cites the study of households indicating that people with only cell phones are disproportionately lower income - more than just age would account for.

    How accurate is this? (I obviously need to go find the original survey). I know my own circle of friends - perhaps thirty people, all mid-20s, all professionals with good incomes and mixed race, and I can't think of a single person who has a landline. Maybe we're all on the cutting edge of pacific northwest young-adult culture, but the survey numbers from this study seemed way low.
  • by Neo-Rio-101 ( 700494 ) on Tuesday May 15, 2007 @01:06AM (#19126185)
    In addition to Australia being big with a small population making the infrastructure expensive to update, Telstra are not run by the government and don't mind being idiots because they own all the copper. Why unroll decent services when they can get away charging decent money for crap?
  • by Rakshasa Taisab ( 244699 ) on Tuesday May 15, 2007 @01:46AM (#19126409) Homepage
    I don't know what 3rd world country you live in, but here we have excellent coverage and quality. In a blind-test I wouldn't have been able to tell the difference between a landline and a mobile phone, and the landlines are really good.

    On second thought... I think many 3rd world countries would be in an uproar if they had the kind of service you describe.
  • Re:Broadband (Score:2, Insightful)

    by dwarfsoft ( 461760 ) on Tuesday May 15, 2007 @01:46AM (#19126413) Homepage
    Obviously you didn't read the thread leading up to this that mentioned quite specifically that they were discussing Australia. Telstra and Optus provide Cable access, and to some extend TransACT does in the ACT as well. Most people are too dispursed from the centres in order for Cable to be a viable option though.

    Most people have the choice of ADSL (up to 1.5Mbps if you are lucky) or Satellite ... the other option a lot of people have kept on is ISDN.

    The only place where ADSL connection speeds are not a joke are in the Metropolitan centres, or wait - just the major cities. I live less than 100km from a major City (Brisbane) in a large regional centre and I can't get access to anything over 1.5Mbps thanks to Telstra's monopoly (although there are plans in the works to upgrade at least one exchange in this town sometime later this year. Here is hoping. The last time they said this was happening was in 2004).

    But back to Phones... out here it is not viable to go Mobile. CDMA is being replaced by NextG (A lame excuse for mobile 'coverage' that just doesn't cover). I am 25 and I rely almost entirely on my Landline and Answering Service. My Mobile is a work mobile, used for people to contact me and for me to contact people in an emergency. I find Mobiles obnoxious and annoying, and prefer to not answer the phone at all. I only wish more people would shut their phones up or ignore them - I think we'd be a happier society.

    Consequently, I heard that Australians are one of the worst cultures for abandoning current tasks the moment a phone is heard ringing. At the dinner table when my parents were last over the phone rang and they said "are you going to answer that?"... I said "Why? I'm eating... it can wait". Phones are one of the most intrusive things in our society and I think it accounts for a lot of dissatisfaction and aggravation.

    But enough ranting for now...
  • by trawg ( 308495 ) on Tuesday May 15, 2007 @01:47AM (#19126419) Homepage
    Of course the alternative is likely too - storm smacks down phone lines leaving landlines useless! As you suggest, best option is redundancy.
  • by Mycroft_VIII ( 572950 ) on Tuesday May 15, 2007 @02:49AM (#19126781) Journal
    The quality is a factor, I've gotten calls from to many people who t..k ov th.. and ge.. mad at me whe I an on the.. @#$#@$ because I .sdf. to do.
        Many of these idiots even call from home, say something like "sorry, only keep a cell phone and it's reception at home is bad", and then get anoyed (At me!) the fifth time I have to say "I'm sorry what did you say?".
        If the other person is obviously not hearing you clearly, then you don't have a good enough signal. Just because you can hear them fine (with <1 watt transmitted vs many watts at the tower they'll lose your side well before you loose them) it doesn't mean they can hear you. I've had so many idiots insist that since they could here me saying "hello?" clearly that it must be my fault and not the cell connection.
        And for sanity's sake if you do have a crappy cell connection DON'T waste some random strangers time by trying to call their business (the first call perhaps, after all sometimes cell phones SHOW a better connection than they actually have) repeatedly when you already know even if you don't loose the connection what you said is so scrambled the other person is going to get it wrong at best.
        Sorry this rant had to go somewhere in this discussion,and isn't really so much directed at the above poster (who did put in some decent qualifiers on his assertion) but not having a land line is often a bad idea. You can usually get at least basic service cheap, and if you keep a working runs-purely-off-line-current phone, works when nothing else will.
        Not to mention so-so land line quality beats all but the best cell-phone quality.

  • by DaScribbler ( 701492 ) on Tuesday May 15, 2007 @06:31AM (#19127747)

    There are numerous reasons for a landline besides the obvious...

    Fax Machine (yes, they still do come in handy...If I need to send off a hardcopy on the fly)
    Children at Home (who don't need cellphones until they can pay their own bills)

    A big factor though, is a contact point for credit card companies, banks, public service, co-workers, any subscription services, and basically anybody else who you find a need to have contact with, but don't want disturbing you when you're out to dinner, on a date, or anywhere/anything else when you don't want to be available for calls from any but a select group of people.

  • by clickclickdrone ( 964164 ) on Tuesday May 15, 2007 @06:39AM (#19127793)
    I hate the collapse of manners that has accompanied their arrival - people chatting on the phone whilst being served in a shop, taking calls in restaurants, talking about nothing on my commute ("I'm on the train") and so on. If people were more considerate in their use, I'd be more keen on getting involved.
    I also value my private time and don't feel a need to be contactable 24/7.
    Finally, being slightly risk averse, I don't like having a small microwave transmitter next to my brain for prolonged periods of time.
  • by demonlapin ( 527802 ) on Tuesday May 15, 2007 @08:37AM (#19128505) Homepage Journal
    dirt cheap ($550.00)

    This is obviously some definition of "dirt cheap" with which I am not familiar.

  • by dcam ( 615646 ) <david@uberconcept.TEAcom minus caffeine> on Tuesday May 15, 2007 @08:50AM (#19128631) Homepage
    Unfortunately many countries, including Australia (though I understand Austel is looking into remedying this) are stuck on an anti-consumer caller-pays model ...

    What? A model where the person performing the action pays for it. I call that logical and consider the US system anti-competitive.
  • by nametaken ( 610866 ) on Tuesday May 15, 2007 @09:22AM (#19128897)

    I leave a very simple (requires no wall power) phone plugged into the land line, which is not activated, for exactly this purpose. I use my cell exclusively (work pays the bill) and if I need 911 and the cell is unusable I can go to the regular phone.

    If I ever decide I need a phone line in the house, I'll shop around for Voip.

    I know lots of people that have gone this same route.
  • by Darth_brooks ( 180756 ) <clipper377@ g m> on Tuesday May 15, 2007 @10:10AM (#19129461) Homepage
    Aren't we just one or two Coronal Mass Ejections from having all our satellites (and cell service among others) go kerflooey?

    As long as we're worrying about things we have no control of, I'd like to point out that we're also one asteroid impact away from wholesale extinction.
  • by jahudabudy ( 714731 ) on Tuesday May 15, 2007 @10:15AM (#19129573)
    Let's see: ordering pizza, confused when performing simple task of dialing phone, paranoid for large portion of the day about "the man" showing up. I know what you were doing, you filthy hippie! :)
  • by bodland ( 522967 ) on Tuesday May 15, 2007 @04:53PM (#19136659) Homepage
    I enjoy the stammering non-overlapped, halting, jerky conversations on cell phones it is soooo modern. We might as well of gone back to hitting each other the face with sticks.

    "HI" - long pause - "hey". "where - WHERE ARE YOU are you at?"

    long pause - "you there?" - long pause - "YES"

Perfection is acheived only on the point of collapse. - C. N. Parkinson