Why you do not want to go solo-cell

Since moving to the apartment, my personal telephonic connection is through my cell phone only. I am not a frequent phone user; I only first purchased a cell phone when I was going to make my first ever flight, on business. I maintained only a low amount of prepaid minutes until I moved to the apartment, where until quite recently I thought my year’s worth of minutes was going to have a substantial balance outstanding when it expired. I am close to the ideal candidate for cell-phone only connection.

Before you decide to stop wasting money on your land line, there are a few things to consider. One thing, really: plain, ordinary telephone service is for most Americans the most reliable utility we have. Power goes out? The plain old telephone system carries on (fancy cordless sets may stop functioning). Cellular service bad? Pick up a wire phone. Cable TV, internet, and phone gone? Pick up the phone.

When I moved to this state I had to prove my residency with a postal mail bill, two different bills showing my address. It was not so easy for me to do. I have kept many of my financial communications in physical mail just on the off chance physical records were ever necessary, but I have few bills (remember, statements don’t count) and one or two of the bills does not show my mailing address.

POTS is similar. In most circumstances it is not as convenient, but there are still infrequent but important occasions where the use of a wire phone is exceptionally important. I like the internet more than the phone as a way of communicating and getting information, but when my cable service went out I had to call.

That’s when I found out that although my cell phone shows bars for service when it is not actually connected, once I call from my apartment the signal strength wavers. I had got through the menus and the holds and I was speaking with a real live person about my cable problem when my cell dropped the call. Back through the menus. This time I balanced my phone on a stack of books where it seemed to get the best reception and ran back and forth to my cable modem throughout the call.

To generalize, my cell phone seems to work just fine for what little hum-drum, causal conversing I might want to do. Any time I have a sense of urgency, the call has static, the signal wavers, the call is dropped.

For me, it is still not worth paying for a land line I will use almost never. But when you ponder making that commitment, ask yourself if you can stand wading through an automated phone system, enduring hold music and adverisements until you get a live human being, and then repeating the process.

If you want never to do that, pay for the land line.