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Old 12-05-2016, 02:28 PM
 
Location: Mayacama Mtns in CA
14,523 posts, read 8,006,316 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PacoMartin View Post
Thanks for the advice. I didn't know TextNow offered free VOIP calling. I thought they were just texts.

Any idea of the quality of TextNow audio is better than RingPlus?
WhatsApp has great quality, in my experience. I talk with a dear friend in the UK, and it sounds like we're next door to each other. The only downside with WhatsApp is that both caller and callee must have the app and WiFi.
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Old 12-05-2016, 02:49 PM
 
Location: Mayacama Mtns in CA
14,523 posts, read 8,006,316 times
Reputation: 11351
Quote:
Originally Posted by PacoMartin View Post
The breakup of the Bell System was mandated on January 8, 1982.

Landlines ran extensive advertising campaigns for long distance service in the late 1990's, one of the most popular campaigns featured Candace Bergen for Sprint.

The longest continuously 3G network operator in the USA was Verizon Wireless started in July 2002. Around this time the number of cellular subscriptions surpassed the number of landlines.

Cellular companies quickly realized that the future of profits would be mobile data, and not voice. Cellular companies began offering unlimited domestic calling for a flat rate People started buying local only land line service and using their cell phones to make long distance calls.

The first generation iPhone was released on June 29, 2007 which sparked a campaign to produce quality Android phones as well.

In the United States, Sprint (previously Clearwire) has deployed Mobile WiMAX networks since 2008, while MetroPCS became the first operator to offer LTE service in 2010. Although the use of the term 4G was debated for a few years, this newest generation of cellular phones was clearly a giant step in the use of phones to do things formerly only done by computers.

During this time people began to trust the reliability of cellular service and landlines started to seem like an expensive luxury, and not a required service for home safety.
Thanks for posting this timeline on how phones have developed, it's interesting to see how things have come along.

I still have a landline which costs me less than $10 a month, because I don't have a long distance calling plan. But friends know to call me on that number when it's going to be a long chat. My outgoing calls are mainly WiFi-Voip, and only sometimes actually using my cellular plan, so that cost is almost always less than $25. My total phone bill per month is around $35, and this includes calls to the Netherlands, UK and New Zealand.

It's important to have a landline in this little podunk town, because the town's emergency notices come over it, and not usually by cell phone. The alerts I receive through Nixle are a different set of notices.
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Old 12-05-2016, 04:34 PM
 
3,105 posts, read 1,960,327 times
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We still have a landline. There's no cable here, so we use DSL for the internet. We keep the landline because my cell phone doesn't work out here and we need a phone line for DSL anyway.
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Old 12-05-2016, 05:11 PM
 
Location: Norfolk, VA
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The irony of America's f_ up telephone infrastructure is that you can probably use Wi-Fi calling in areas that can't get reliable copper (noise on the line because of the distance), relying on satellite, or other means.

Case in point, my GoPhone account works in an area of West Virginia where AT&T and Sprint are the only options. They have a lot of issues with Sprint, but AT&T is rock solid. And their Internet is good. I think Shentelle is the Internet provider out there. I don't know about that companies soft cap, but the Internet makes for great Wi-Fi calling and over the top TV (Netflix, Hulu, etc). Technically, you could use it for everything. But most of those people have satellite, as you can't get reliable cable without noise on the signal. Satellite Internet sucks for web browsing, but I'd imagine it'd be great for calling. Surely someone 100 miles from the nearest town is doing this, as even cellular would get squirrelly out there.

But this is the f_ up part about it. I registered the phone for Southeast Virginia and got a 757 number. Technically that's what I need anyway, cause that's where I live, but why aren't reps assigning 304 numbers to GoPhone accounts? Try walking into a Walmart there (rural West Virginia) and inquire about it and they'll point you to TracFone or sell you a contract. D_mn shame; anywhere that AT&T works, within the mainland United States, GoPhone works. That's why I buy all my phones online.

TL;DR you have options out in the boondocks no one ever tells you about because those people have money and they'll spend it to stay connected before us city dwelling cheapskates will open our wallets.

Last edited by goofy328; 12-05-2016 at 05:22 PM..
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Old 12-05-2016, 07:09 PM
 
Location: Neptune
135 posts, read 95,642 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chattyneighbor View Post
Loved my landline - easy to fax & use the scanner - RELIABLE - but Verizon came - saw the truck sitting on the block next thing me and my neighbor knew - our landlines miraculously both stopped working. Verizon swears tech didn't do anything and also refused to fix it. They claim they no longer support copper wires so when they break - they break. Next thing a tech comes and says we ordered FIOS -? We did? No we ordered repair of the copper wire. Chased the FIOS away & he was a nasty, Lying - SOB. Both of us reported the whole thing to FCC - completely useless tax dollar guzzling - I hope TRUMP gets rid of them FCC - who does nothing and lets Verizon pay off whoever they want to do whatever they want - and in the end --- we now have no landline.
Waiting for the next hurricane when all we had was that landline - hooked it to a free dialup and that was working when all the high speed internets were down. We won't even have that as a back up anymore.
Then I heard Verizon is selling the landline business to another company who wants to maintain landlines - so they are clearly intentionally sabataging all their existing copper wire lines now to force the takeover company to go through the expense of laying their own lines down.
And the FCC is ok with it all.
Argggh -
^ This!

I've had my landline for many years, long before Verizon took over NJ Bell. I've never had a problem with it and only had a $35 monthly bill. Recently, I received a notice from Verizon that they were performing "network upgrades" to fiber optics in my area and that if I didn't call to schedule the conversion by a certain date they will " by law" suspend service. I called to schedule the upgrade and the number actually went to their sales department. The woman I spoke with was nice but pushy for a Triple Play package. I really have no need for TV, but she quoted me a price of $101.84 and even though I was hesitant, at the time I felt that was an agreeable amount.

She sent me the confirmation email and what she didn't tell me about was the $80 one-time setup fee, the $22 monthly equipment rental and the $38 in taxes, fees and "other Verizon charges". I called back to cancel the Triple Play and told them to just do the conversion. The rep apologized and said she would make the change. That was October 28th and mysteriously my phone hasn't worked since. I called Verizon and was transferred three times. The CS rep only wanted to sell me the Triple Play again. I had to finally tell her I'm on a fixed income and can't afford it. I told her they would have to prorate the account for the time I've been without service. She then transferred me to the finance department which said they can't prorate the account until they find out when the service stopped, which is bull. The phone has worked reliably for years, through many storms, even through Superstorm Sandy. Never had a problem until now.

They then transferred me to the technician rep who also said they didn't know why the phone was disconnected and they would have to send a tech to check it out and if the problem is in the house I'll be billed for it. Oh, and by the way, while he's there, he can go ahead and do the upgrade to the Triple Play. I told her, I canceled the Triple Play. She said she didn't see that on the account, but she'd go ahead and take it off and just do the service call. For some reason, I wasn't convinced. When the tech came, I didn't even answer the door.

I got the October bill which I didn't pay and the November bill. Verizon then sent me a suspension notice which is laughable at this point because how can they suspend a service that I don't even have? I mainly was keeping the landline as an emergency backup, but at this point Verizon can shove it.
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Old 12-09-2016, 01:24 AM
 
Location: Texas Hill Country
13,504 posts, read 7,220,880 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr5150 View Post
I read somewhere that over half of US households no longer have a landline. We got rid of ours about three years ago. We were paying $50 a month/$600 a year for something we didn't really need. And that $50 a month did not include "long distance" charges, because we always used our cell phones to call out of the area friends, relatives and businesses. We pay $90 a month for our two smartphones and I am quite sure our long distance charge savings well exceeds the $40 "extra" we pay for our smartphone voice, text and data had we only relied on our landline for calling.

I feel there is a false economy with some folk who believe that having a cell phone/smartphone is a waste of money or they boast that they only pay $100 a year for a prepaid service and rely on their landline for all calling.

So why keep a landline?
Why?

Back up systems especially when one is in a cell tower dead zone

A line to use for a 800 government agency.....that has you on hold for 45 minutes....so you don't use up your minutes needlessly

When the power goes out, it is still available

With the point of "you are only one cell tower away from no communications" it has better odds of being able to get a signal out

Use as a Fax line

Steady phone number to hand out for buyer points for this or that merchant and even though that number may be sold to telemarketers, I just put an answering machine on it to field calls for me

There are probably other reasons
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Old 12-09-2016, 10:39 AM
 
Location: Sierra Nevada Land, CA
9,308 posts, read 10,438,868 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TamaraSavannah View Post
Why?

Back up systems especially when one is in a cell tower dead zone

A line to use for a 800 government agency.....that has you on hold for 45 minutes....so you don't use up your minutes needlessly

When the power goes out, it is still available

With the point of "you are only one cell tower away from no communications" it has better odds of being able to get a signal out

Use as a Fax line

Steady phone number to hand out for buyer points for this or that merchant and even though that number may be sold to telemarketers, I just put an answering machine on it to field calls for me

There are probably other reasons
If one lives in a cellphone dead zone then yea, having a landline makes sense. But aside from faxing from home, your other points are not so. Modern phone plans have unlimited minutes of talk, so being on hold for 45 minutes is not an issue. When the power went out our cordless landline didn't work, but our cellphones still worked. Recharged phone in the car or with one of our backup batteries. And my number never changes. Am on a do not call list. No telemarketer calls for me.

Haven't faxed from home in years. We scan documents and email them.

Last edited by Mr5150; 12-09-2016 at 10:53 AM..
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Old 12-09-2016, 10:58 AM
 
Location: Norfolk, VA
6,503 posts, read 6,895,520 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr5150 View Post
If one lives in a cellphone dead zone then yea, having a landline makes sense. But aside from faxing from home, you other points are not so. Modern phone plans have unlimited minutes of talk, so being on hold for 45 minutes is not an issue. When the power goes out out cordless landline didn't work, but our cellphones still worked. Recharged phone in the car or with one of our backup batteries. And my number never changes.

Haven't faxed from home in years. We scan documents and email them.
I guess the real question becomes, who is it that does not have access to cell phone service? In the worst case coverage scenarios, TracFone is an option. If the s& really hits the fan, you can sit one of those cheap solar cell phone chargers in the window. Sure that takes all day to charge up the battery, just to turn around and charge up the battery in the phone, but it is an option. All of that can be done for less than $200; TracFone minutes last up to a year if you spend $100, and solar cell phone chargers are like $20, plus TracFone still gives away Android KitKat smartphones for free.

And if you are in that situation turn off background data on everything and just use it for phone calls that are absolutely necessary to make. Makes your battery last longer. Turn off GPS, Bluetooth, etc. There are options.

I also agree on the faxing thing. There are services that allow you to scan documents and fax them; not email, but actually fax them to someone else. All you need is a cheap printer/scanner. They even have apps for faxing now, so you don't even need that anymore. I'd imagine a cheap phone with a camera will do.

Last edited by goofy328; 12-09-2016 at 11:10 AM..
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Old 12-09-2016, 12:14 PM
 
Location: Texas Hill Country
13,504 posts, read 7,220,880 times
Reputation: 11084
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr5150 View Post
If one lives in a cellphone dead zone then yea, having a landline makes sense. But aside from faxing from home, your other points are not so. Modern phone plans have unlimited minutes of talk, so being on hold for 45 minutes is not an issue. When the power went out our cordless landline didn't work, but our cellphones still worked. Recharged phone in the car or with one of our backup batteries. And my number never changes. Am on a do not call list. No telemarketer calls for me.

Haven't faxed from home in years. We scan documents and email them.
For a cordless landline, yes, but not for a $15 Vtech that one plugs in the wall. If there is no power, one still gets a dial tone on a simple phone like that.

As far as minutes go, I still have the 1000 on my original plan from 2005 and it works for me.

As far as Faxing goes, I do it all the time, such as with the IRS and DAN.

But....to each their own.

Now, one thing I will say, I suppose it can depend on how one views phones. I don't have a smart phone but just a Razr. Given such an approach, I am probably more likely to see uses and needs for land lines......

...........such as, perhaps, greater protection against being intercepted and "wire tapped".

Last edited by TamaraSavannah; 12-09-2016 at 12:26 PM..
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Old 12-09-2016, 01:02 PM
 
Location: Ft Myers, FL
2,772 posts, read 1,692,616 times
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With the landline I can hear and answer from anywhere in the house. With a cell instead, unless I carried it from room to room, I'd have to run to where it is, assuming I could hear it ring. Also, when family calls, we can be on extensions in separate rooms, (ie. Kitchen & workshop) multitasking, whereas with cell we'd have to hover over the speakerphone, and we typically cannot hear that very well.
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