It’s not uncommon to meet someone who doesn’t have a landline, especially people who graduated from college this past decade. That generation is the first large generation to have cell phones through high school and into graduation of college. This means, when they finally get their own place, they are already accustomed to their cellphone being their only means of communication through phone lines. Why get a landline anyway? If anyone wants to get in touch with you they already know that you’ll most likely have your cell phone in your pocket, and if someone calls, that you don’t want to answer, you can more easily refuse the call then you would on a landline. So what does this mean for landline phones? Are they going extinct, or are they going to stick it out for a bit longer?
Everyone that I know from college, and out of college, between the ages of 20-30 are all living their lives without a landline. When asked I get responses like “Why spend the extra cash on a phone I can only answer when I am home?” “It would be like paying a monthly fee for an answering machine at home”, “I already have a phone on me, it’s no longer my home number people call, but my number”. The other benefit of having a cell phone, be it a used cell phone of a refurbished cell phone, is to have an assistant in your hand.
Smart phones are on the rise in sales thanks to their extra features and being able to download more apps to make the phone exactly what you want it. Your phone can have a to do list, email, games, GPS navigation and much much more. Landline phones can have a few of those features, but there is no reason for a company to output all of the features a smart phone has. All of those features are only useful because you can carry them around with you. “It’s what customers want,” said AT&T spokeswoman Sue Sperry. “It’s what customers are relying on, a phone and computer in their hand.” With more and more smart phones being resold to stores and sold as used cell phones at a huge discount, it is becoming more and more affordable for anyone to have a smart phone.
It turns out though that we may be stuck with landlines for some time. “The cell network depends on the wired network,” said Sperry. “People don’t realize this. Cell calls depend on the landline network. It’s the same for all carriers. Cell calls have to be switched and identified.” So until we find another way to send information we may continue to have phone lines lining every street and crowding our views. I look forward to a future where these wires will be taken down, but until we advance wireless technology we will have to just suck it up. Of course there are more household items on their way out, landlines are just one of many going extinct as the typical household changes with time.