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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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  • Kind of a concern (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Kittenman ( 971447 ) on Monday May 14, 2007 @11:38PM (#19125495)
    .. really. I use service, reliability and cost to determine whether I go wireless or not. It's not how sexy the ads are. Maybe the article is saying that under-30s are more susceptible to advertising?

    Oh yeah, I'm over 30. So what.

  • Businesses... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by setirw ( 854029 ) on Monday May 14, 2007 @11:39PM (#19125501) Homepage
    Hmm... the article mentioned businesses switching exclusively to mobile services.

    It would be interesting if a wireless carrier introduced PBX-esque switching and operation. If service is good enough (a factor I'd assume holds most people back from ditching the land line), I'm sure a lot of small businesses would forgo a PBX-based telephone for a more easily set-up wireless based system.

    I'd certainly get a cell phone with blinky lights that indicate a call coming through on line three! :-)
  • by redelm ( 54142 ) on Monday May 14, 2007 @11:40PM (#19125509) Homepage
    I've used cellphone for a _very_ long time (starting with radiophones in the 1980s). The voice quality is seldom good enough for a personal conversation which depends on tone-of-voice. Yes, I'm aware there are some services that are remarkably good. Most are not, and render a phone little better than a walkie-talkie.

    That's fine if that's what you value. Me, after many stubborn years, I've learned the fine art of the two hour phone call. And that takes a quality phone line where you can hear the other party breathe. Otherwise, it's just multitasking distractions. Yuck. I do too much of that at work to want to run my personal life that way.

  • Bandwidth? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 14, 2007 @11:41PM (#19125515)
    Correct me if I'm wrong. If phone lines aren't hampered with having to carry voice communications, will DSL be able to grab more bandwidth?
  • Cutting the cord (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Z0mb1eman ( 629653 ) on Monday May 14, 2007 @11:43PM (#19125537) Homepage
    I probably would have cut the cord a long time ago, but every time I start looking at cell phone plans, I just get mad. Especially with the various taxes that are always listed separately. Look, I don't care if you have to pay this tax, that fee, your company's hydro bill or for your CEO's lunches, just tell me what the bloody thing costs.

    Besides, don't DSL companies still charge you the $10 or so for a landline?

    Anyone care to suggest a cell phone provider in Toronto that won't get my blood pressure up (too much? :p)
  • by dswensen ( 252552 ) on Monday May 14, 2007 @11:45PM (#19125561) Homepage
    I converted to cell-only not because I'm always on the go or because of any cachet, but to avoid the constant barrage of telemarketer and solicitation calls I received at my land line. Getting on the "do not call" list was only marginally successful; most of the telemarketers who kept calling claimed they were exempt for some reason or another. It was a constant annoyance, and still the #1 reason I refuse to get a land line again.

    If we do go all-cellular, I wonder if the legislation about telemarketers being unable to call cell phones would change. I'm praying it won't -- I've been enjoying the peace and quiet, quite frankly.
  • Re:Kind of a concern (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Osty ( 16825 ) on Monday May 14, 2007 @11:48PM (#19125577)

    .. really. I use service, reliability and cost to determine whether I go wireless or not. It's not how sexy the ads are. Maybe the article is saying that under-30s are more susceptible to advertising?

    I'm just barely under 30 (I'll be turning 29 in a couple months), and I've been landline-free since shortly after purchasing a home in 2003. I found that the extra ~$25/mo for a landline was completely wasted since I

    • Never used it
    • Didn't need it for DSL or Tivo
    • Rarely made any phone calls while at home
    • The only people calling me on it were phone spam for charities and crap
    For me, it made financial sense to save the extra $25/mo I was paying for basic service. My cell works just about everywhere, including Canada (though I have to roam, which I'm fine with as I rarely go to Canada), I always have it on me, and the $40/mo plan I'm on gives me 1000 minutes a month with free, unlimited nights and weekends. However, I'm also an anomoly in terms of phone usage for my age group. I spend an average of < 30 minutes a month on the phone, as most of my calls generally sound something like, "Hey it's me. Yeah, I'll see you in a few minutes." I upgraded to a RAZR last fall, but otherwise I keep my phones for several years. I've been month-to-month on my current plan since 2002 when my initial contract expired, and I'd rather pay for my own phone than re-up a contract to get a "free" phone.

    Personally, I couldn't go back to using a landline. It's a useless technology for me, and as long as I have cell coverage I'm happy.

  • Re:Cutting the cord (Score:3, Interesting)

    by david614 ( 10051 ) on Monday May 14, 2007 @11:52PM (#19125611) Journal
    I would cut the cord, but my broadband internet access is delivered via dsl. As this is quite a common situation (in the US and elsewhere) reports of the death of landline phones may be a little premature.
  • by khasim ( 1285 ) <brandioch.conner@gmail.com> on Monday May 14, 2007 @11:56PM (#19125651)
    We can do both already. It's just a matter of keeping the airspace clean enough for the radio waves to travel.

    And THAT is why it will be a while before businesses get rid of their lines. You want the cleanest voice connections you can get. Yo don nt c st m rs o ha e t dea ith al s re ki g p.
  • Re:Kind of a concern (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Simon Garlick ( 104721 ) on Tuesday May 15, 2007 @12:01AM (#19125695)
    The article could be rephrased as "younger poorer people tend not to own homes at which landlines are installed".

    Like, duh.
  • Re:Party lines? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Sanat ( 702 ) on Tuesday May 15, 2007 @12:05AM (#19125737)
    When I was a kid we were on a party line with eight other families. If you wanted to use the telephone you would pick up the receiver and listen for someone talking or listen for the dial tone and then dial the number.

    One had to be very careful what was said as often other neighbors would listen in on a conversation. Most conversations were brief and old people still have brief conversations from habit even though they might have a dedicated line today.

    Our telephone number was 226.

    If an emergency was occurring and other people were talking on the party line then you told them that it was an emergency and they would hang up so you could dial.

    One needed to practice good citizenship but it seemed that each family had their own opinion of what that constituted.
  • Do you live in Aus? and if you do, how, unlike the rest of the country, are you getting away with not paying the telstra tax?

    Here telstra owns the landlines, to use them for ANYTHING you have to pay line rental, the cheapest way to pay line rental is a basic telstra home phone service.
  • Re:Bandwidth? (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 15, 2007 @12:23AM (#19125853)
    Couldn't you run an analog modem and DSL concurrently? hmmmm. I can't think of anyone who has tried but it seems like DSL customers can log in POTS style. I guess you would have to bridge the connections too and then the telco would eventually notice you were logged in twice. It would be kinda pointless for the extra 5kbps although I would probably do it just to keep the phone from ringing - the only perk of having dialup.
  • Re:Kind of a concern (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Doogie5526 ( 737968 ) on Tuesday May 15, 2007 @12:28AM (#19125875) Homepage
    Yeah, but at events like Cochella they can bring out mobile cell towers so people can get temporary service in the middle of the desert. Why can't this be achieved during emergencies too? When I lived in FL we lost power/phone after a hurricane it took a couple weeks to get service back (who knows how many buried/tangled lines they had to repair). For emergency service it sounds a lot easier to strategically place a few vans all over the town while restoring the local infrastructure.
  • by michaelmalak ( 91262 ) <michael@michaelmalak.com> on Tuesday May 15, 2007 @12:41AM (#19125969) Homepage
    I'm an early adopter for technology I want (home theater in 1988, camera phone in 2003, PDA phone in 2005, etc.) and a luddite for technology I need (taxes -- pencil and paper until this year; taking notes at work -- pencil and paper; home phone -- land line until VOIP can be powered from telephone line current).
  • by IANAAC ( 692242 ) on Tuesday May 15, 2007 @12:42AM (#19125981)
    Want to know why?

    Speakeasy (my provider) assures decent QoS. Of course it still relies on a solid internet connection - and that's absolutely what it's been for me with Speakeasy in the 4+ years I've been with them.

    I realize not all VoIP providers do this, but if you're willing to do a bit of investigation, you'll find that there are a few companies that do provide it. They won't be cheap, but if you're tired of the crap customer service provided by the Bells (the new AT&T), it's a decent, valid option.

  • by Nevyn ( 5505 ) * on Tuesday May 15, 2007 @01:26AM (#19126301) Homepage Journal

    Wireless services always offered more features than wired ones, and they still do.

    Not those kinds of features, sure for custom rings or a wallpaper my mobile is much better ... but for a phone that I'd actually want to be speaking/listening to for 1-3 hours, then mobile looses everytime.

    Voice mail is probably the most important one, and it is included on cell phones;

    My answering machine cost like $10. And I pay that once. But for another "feature", I'd be very surprised if international calling was anywhere near on a mobile (but then I pay roughly $7 a month for mobile, and so pay a lot per. minute for "local" calls). Also I have to wonder ... wtf. are you doing for DSL, I need a phone line for that. I guess some people only have the option of Cable, or maybe have some better options.

  • Re:Kind of a concern (Score:2, Interesting)

    by raju1kabir ( 251972 ) on Tuesday May 15, 2007 @02:10AM (#19126545) Homepage

    Calls to cellphones must be cheaper wherever you are than here in Australia. Particularly if you have relatives regularly calling you from OS, it's pretty rude to give them a cellphone number and expect them to pay 10x as much to call you.

    He's probably in the US.

    Like China and Singapore, the US has a competition-enabling pricing model wherein mobile phone owners are charged for incoming calls. This drives down the cost of making calls to mobile phones, and drives down prices in the market in general. Unfortunately many countries, including Australia (though I understand Austel is looking into remedying this) are stuck on an anti-consumer caller-pays model in which there is no competitive pressure on mobile termination rates.

    On another note, what's up with Australian mobile operators quoting rates in 30-second increments? Is that just downright deceptive or what?

  • by drsmithy ( 35869 ) <drsmithy@gmai[ ]om ['l.c' in gap]> on Tuesday May 15, 2007 @03:09AM (#19126875)

    So I have a landline I never use.

    Yes, you do. You use it for DSL. How else do expect to get ADSL other than over a landline ?

    God they're filthy (Telstra) - hopefully we'll have a change of Government soon & get rid of the current spineless Prime Minister John Howard - who can't stand up to Telstra.

    Huh ? The Australian Government regulates the hell out of Telstra (and a good thing, too, given the circumstances).

  • Re:Kind of a concern (Score:3, Interesting)

    by fbjon ( 692006 ) on Tuesday May 15, 2007 @03:53AM (#19127049) Homepage Journal
    While POTS will eventually disappear, fixed (desk) telephones probably won't. Two different issues.
  • Re:Kind of a concern (Score:4, Interesting)

    by ben there... ( 946946 ) on Tuesday May 15, 2007 @05:24AM (#19127465) Journal

    I think the US norm of callee-pays originally stemmed from the inability of the billing system/incumbent networks to cope with the other way, due to various limitations (but I could be wrong; it's been a while since I heard that, and my memory may be faulty).

    I think the cellphone provider cartel in the US just wanted some extra cash. All phones in the US work on a caller-pays basis (other than included "free" minutes and various deals), including mobiles. But cell companies double-dip by having incoming, as well as outgoing, cellphone calls use up monthly minutes included in the plan, and charging the cell owner when those minutes aren't included.
  • Re:Kind of a concern (Score:3, Interesting)

    by rjshields ( 719665 ) on Tuesday May 15, 2007 @05:51AM (#19127577)
    That's great, unless you need ADSL, or simply don't like mobiles because they are annoying.
  • I had a cell phone. (Score:2, Interesting)

    by ponderance ( 1032902 ) on Tuesday May 15, 2007 @06:53AM (#19127861) Homepage
    I still use the actual physical cell phone as a PDA. I did not like paying $50 for something I only ever really used at home. I didn't like using it when driving and don't like people who do. I have a job where a cell phone isn't a good idea. I never road trip. And it got terrible reception where I lived. Why pay $50 for something that blows connectivity wise from where I live? I reverted to a $20 a month landline. I feel no need to go back to a cell.
  • Security Systems (Score:5, Interesting)

    by InShadows ( 103008 ) on Tuesday May 15, 2007 @07:52AM (#19128171)
    On Mother's Day, my mom was asking about how much I pay for my cell phone bill and how many telemarketing calls I receive on a daily basis. She seemed truly interested in ditching the landline. So I had to remind her that without a landline the security system installed in their house will not function properly. Needless to say that ended that conversation. Security systems, such as ADT, require a house to have a landline. So until they change their practices and allow for VOIP or some other telecommunication avenue, the landlines will not be going away.
  • Re:Kind of a concern (Score:2, Interesting)

    by UbuntuDupe ( 970646 ) * on Tuesday May 15, 2007 @10:17AM (#19129607) Journal
    Semi-off-thread-topic, but I didn't see anyone bring up this important issue until way down in an isolated post:

    Aren't the *characteristics* of those who use POTS important? Specifically, for polling? I mean, I use VOIP and a cell. I'm invisible to pollsters, and I bet most /.ers are as well. And as the story suggest, this doesn't add random noise; it predictably skews polls. Even if the pollsters called *until* they got a representative sample of younger people, the young/less-wealthy people who are visible to pollsters are distinctly different -- there's a reason they haven't adapted like the rest of their demographic (eccentricities, too much debt, or some other reason I can't think of).

    And how does this "off the poll grid" group differ? Probably a lot more libertarian and anti-copyright (at least w.r.t. shorter terms and more fair use exemptions).

    So, why should I trust polls I hear about now? How exactly are they reaching this demographic?
  • by speedlaw ( 878924 ) on Tuesday May 15, 2007 @01:55PM (#19133537) Homepage
    Call Quality ? where ? When the radio channels begin to fill, you can (or can't) hear the phone co increase compression to a point of ridiculousness. While they can claim they didn't drop the call, it's so bit-starved that I can barely hear what is going on. Add to that various chops to the call and dropouts, and I save the wire phone for the really serious conversations. I find that my ham radio, or my CB, is often clearer than cell phones. If a guy from the other side of the world is clearer on a fairly simple ham set than my wife from across town, then the company has to do better. OOOh, I forgot...I live in the US where cell phone companies can't be easily changed by sim card.....darn.

Nondeterminism means never having to say you are wrong.