Monday, May 09, 2011

Cutting Ma Bell's Apron Strings

As more and more of us are using our mobile phones not only for business and emergencies but for most all of our calling, many are questioning whether they also really need a land line from the phone company. Everyday, people are disconnecting the land lines to both save money and to simplify getting in touch with friends and family. After all, how many phone numbers and voice mail boxes do we really need?

If you are among those considering severing your tether to Ma Bell’s apron strings there are some great devices that will make it easier and convenient when you are at home or at the office.

Several companies offer devices that serve as a docking/charging station for your cell phone and allow all of the phones now connected to the regular phone company lines in your home to use the cell phone connection instead. When you come home for the evening you connect the cell phone to the docking station and when you receive a call or wish to place a call you use any of the hard wired or cordless phones already in your house. Your calls are routed through your cell phone telephone number.

There are several different versions offered by companies like Panasonic, Sony and AT&T. Some require an iPhone but most will accommodate any phone that has Bluetooth connectivity. They are priced from about $75 to as much as several hundred dollars.

Over and above convenience, there are other advantages to using the cell line for your regular line. Many mobile phone plans offer free long distance and special free “family” calling discounts. Also, I find that for long calls a standard telephone handset is more comfortable to use than the cigarette-size smartphone.

Most of these systems are not capable of sending or receiving faxes, so if you have a home office you may wish to keep a land line as well. Some of the devices, like models from Panasonic, allow you to have two lines connected: one cell phone line and one regular land line. You can choose what line to use.

Some more words of caution. If you decide to cut the cord, your calls to 911 may not allow the dispatcher to pin point your location so be sure to tell them the exact address when you call. Since you will be using your mobile phone more make certain you’re your mobile service plan allows for the extra minutes. Most plans offer “free evenings and weekends” and since that is when you are most likely to be home it shouldn’t be problem.

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Anonymous MikeD said...

I know lots of folks who have "cut the cord" and seem happy with the savings. At home, we send less than 20 faxes over a year's time, so that wouldn't be much of an issue. The hard part would be for the kids (all grown and moved out) "calling home". Dad's cell number or Mom's? Just not the same as "calling home".
I guess the old fogeys aren't ready to unbundle the land line.

11:29 AM  

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