Anyone (successfully) ditch the land lines? Thinking of going all cellular...

Discussion in 'Community Discussion' started by MacHandmedown, Dec 13, 2011.

  1. MacHandmedown macrumors newbie

    Aug 31, 2010
    We've been hit with phone and Internet connectivity outages more and more frequently which has led us to explore replacing phone and Internet service with all cellular.

    Is anyone out there doing this and any feedback?

    Please feel free to post questions as I'm sure I and others can help with anything else that comes up as we all do more research.

    Here are some details to help with the discussion:
    - Three people in the house.
    - Two phone numbers (one home, one a business line).
    - Two cell phones right now. We had three but killed one to save a few dollars as my wife rarely uses the cell phone.
    - Internet use varies quite a bit but it is safe to say we are over 10 GB on a regular basis. (Wife is a graphic designer (web and print) and some of the files FTP or emailed plus constant refreshing of web pages on multiple platforms makes it hard to nail down her exact usage amounts, but it's often high. My daughter is an amateur photographer and does post and share some larger-size photos plus she consumes a lot of online video - youtube and some other sites, rarely Netflix or entire movies, though.)
    - Multiple devices need to get on the hotspot: Wife's work computer, my work computer, two iPads, and an iMac. It's rare that all of these would be on at the same time, but it's possible that we would need four or five devices connected at the same time.

    So, two basic directions we are exploring are (but we are open to thoughts/suggestions):
    1) Three iPhones, use them as hotspots to tether each person's data needs. Can use one of the other plan's data if one is used up to help avoid overages on one line and wasted data on another

    2) Three phones PLUS a dedicated hotspot for data, shared for all in the house.

    2.5) Two phones PLUS hotspot PLUS something like the Verizon HomeConnect which is a $20/mo cell phone drop that you plug your home phone into, kinda like VoIP over cellular. This gets around the battery issue for the office line that may be in use most of the day...

    Some concerns:
    - Battery life if using one of the phones throughout the day
    - Cost of data
    - Quality of connection
    - "Throttling" and speed of data, especially in high-use months
    - Looking to keep the expense low as best as possible
    - Don't have Boost, Cricket, MetroPCS, etc coverage where we are yet...

    That's enough to get started I think... We've done some research and have some "almost" solutions scoped out for around $200/mo, but we will need more data coverage to make it work.

    I'm hoping to hear that someone has a similar solution that works and to get suggestions on plans and coverage. (For example, unlimited data like Sprint offers that isn't throttled and actually works at high speed well into the month that you're using it... stuff like that...)
  2. MacDawg macrumors Core


    Mar 20, 2004
    "Between the Hedges"
    I have not had a landline for nearly 5 years now
  3. renewed macrumors 68040


    Mar 24, 2009
    Bemalte Blumen duften nicht.
    Same. Haven't had a land line since the beginning of 2006.
  4. imotionb18 macrumors member

    Aug 5, 2011
  5. mkrishnan Moderator emeritus


    Jan 9, 2004
    Grand Rapids, MI, USA
    I haven't had a landline since about 2004, but my situation is a lot less complicated than yours.

    I do have some suggestions...

    1) I saw this in GQ. Moshi Moshi makes a handset that has a cradle to charge your iPhone and then works over bluetooth with it. If minutes aren't a concern, this should be a good solution for battery issues as well as give you a more comfortable handset experience at home.

    There are less pretty but cheaper solutions that have wired handsets.

    2) Do you have Clear? Reported experiences with them seem to vary a LOT, but they might be a good option for WiMax style service with the kind of bandwidth you need, that would get you out of having to deal with separate capped mobile broadband plans.
  6. GoCubsGo macrumors Nehalem


    Feb 19, 2005
    I did it for over 5 years but moved some place where cell service was terrible and wound up getting Vonage. Since moving to NC my upload is capped at about 510 kb/s so it made for difficult times talking on the phone for work and using the internet, at all. Had to get a digital phone land line and I'm actually cancelling Vonage this month because I haven't made or received a call in over 3 months from the line.

    It can be done providing you have decent cell service.
  7. blueroom macrumors 603


    Feb 15, 2009
    Toronto, Canada
    We installed a VoIP landline just because it's cheap ~$5 month. Also allowed us to skip the long distance cell plans.
  8. gramirez2012 macrumors 6502a

    Jun 21, 2010
    Chicago, USA
    I'm trying to get my parents to ditch their landline in favor of cell phones, especially since they complain that every landline phone they buy sucks. My mom is getting good at using her iPhone for most of her calls, but my dad is stubborn as a rock. He's still holding on to retired employee discounts from AT&T. :rolleyes:
  9. MacHandmedown thread starter macrumors newbie

    Aug 31, 2010
    Getting rid of the landline (phone service) is a no-brainer. It does cost more to have cellular service only, but at this stage with all the outages and consistent poor quality service (crosstalk, static, etc. that comes and goes), it's definitely been on our mind more and more lately.

    It's the data side that's not quite there cost-wise for us. If we were casual users, the 4 GB plans that are floating around now might do the trick tethered to an iPhone. However, since we are over 10 GB on a regular basis, this option could get costly. Then there is the issue of throttling when our usage goes over whatever the carrier's limit is. We cannot be without access or have access crawl to a halt after a certain amount of data for the month...

    It's frustrating that it's so close, but still not perfect.

    To those who use cellular data, is there anyone who uses this exclusively?

    Perhaps one of the solutions I need to explore is working with the business team or someone at the carrier directly to ensure our account is not throttled. If that's even possible at this time...
  10. MacDawg macrumors Core


    Mar 20, 2004
    "Between the Hedges"
    One of the biggest things to consider is your overall usage and work flow

    For me, it is a no-brainer
    I rarely receive a phone call outside of work

    I communicate far more with text, email, FB, Twitter, etc.
    My kids and I text or FB message more than we talk
    Same with my GF

    If my phone "rings" I am like WTF?
    Usually it is a telemarketer call forwarded from my work phone
    That rarely happens anymore TBH

    It fits for me, but prolly is not for everyone

    Edit: I do have separate internet service through Comcast
  11. MacHandmedown thread starter macrumors newbie

    Aug 31, 2010
    Will check into them, thanks! A few months ago they weren't in the area... may have changed now.

    This would mean we'd still need to carry a wired Internet connection. I have a VoIP line now, I believe it works out to $6-$7/mo, but if we switch to cellular Internet I might be better off using the cell phone with unlimited minutes rather than the data costs over cellular for the VoIP...


    So this gets to the heart of making the go/no-go decision.

    FIRST - Does anyone know the easiest way to determine what our Internet bandwidth consumption is on a monthly basis? We don't run a server gateway to get that reporting... I have to dig into the Westell router to see what reports (if any) it might be able to provide.

    As for talk/text/etc. - yes, we need to figure all that out. We do still talk and both businesses do a lot of phone work. Some is in conjuntion with webinars and could go VoIP through the web conference while others there is no VoIP option, etc.

    I think we'd text more as a family if my wife and I had text plans, but for now we've been saving the extra fees. We could be trained though... :) especially if it helps eliminate other costs.
  12. blueroom macrumors 603


    Feb 15, 2009
    Toronto, Canada
    Cellular internet would be very slow and costly here in Canada. Except for light browsing and email I'd avoid it.

    Another option for the very light user on the cheap (and I've actually considered this) is to use an iPad 3G with AcroBits as a phone and portable content reader. Of course the previously mentioned Moshi Moshi handset would make it workable or a good Bluetooth headset.
  13. Blazer24K macrumors member


    Jan 2, 2009
    Birmingham, AL
    I really can't offer much in the way of cellular internet services, but I agree with the other posters in that ditching the land line for telephone usage is no problem at all. I was one of the earliest to ditch my land line (1997-98) and was told I was crazy for doing so. It was actually more expensive then, but I was a college student (clearly not a finance major) and had no need for a land line. I've never looked back.
  14. iBreatheApple macrumors 68030


    Sep 3, 2011
  15. Bonch macrumors 6502


    May 28, 2005
    I have not had a land line for over 25 years. Suck it!
  16. yg17 macrumors G5


    Aug 1, 2004
    St. Louis, MO
    I have a land line only because it's free through work. I still usually end up using my cell though because that's the number everyone has and all my contacts are in there.
  17. wpotere Guest

    Oct 7, 2010
  18. snberk103 macrumors 603

    Oct 22, 2007
    An Island in the Salish Sea
    One thing to watch out for is that there should be a phone in the house, even when the primary cell phones are out and about with their owners. A friend of ours (who has been land-lineless for years) got into trouble because he was leaving his kids at home, without a phone, when he was running errands (he took the household phone with him).

    His solution was simply to get the cheapest cellphone, since it was only to be used by people at home to call him while he was running errands.

    Don't know if there is a similar situation here, but do consider what happens if you have a guest and all the regular phones are out of the house. If they have a question for you, like how to turn the water off when they break the faucet.....
  19. zigzagg321 macrumors 6502

    Oct 7, 2011
    the wire
    Ive not had a land line for nearly 10 years now. I don't miss it at all, and I often wonder why anyone bothers with one.
  20. PlaceofDis macrumors Core

    Jan 6, 2004
    the hard part, as you mentioned is the data service. it really depends on where you are though and how much you use per month. i would say that looking into clear could be a viable option. if i was going this route i definitely would not go with just tethering my phones for usage. A dedicated hotspot would make more sense to me. also perhaps an internet only basic plan from AT&T or comcast etc instead.

    it all depends on where you are and what is available and your specific needs.
  21. tktaylor1 macrumors 6502a


    Feb 16, 2010
    Nashville, TN
    We have to keep a landline at our house due to our alarm system. It, for some reason, is connected to the landline.
  22. mscriv macrumors 601


    Aug 14, 2008
    Dallas, Texas
    Going cellular data only sounds very risky and very expensive to me. I would definitely suggest something like Clear or possibly even Satellite internet before just relying on At&t, Sprint, or Verizon. Are there other "wired" internet options in your area?

    My family does not have a wired home phone line as we have been all cellular for many years now. We have Uverse for our TV and wired internet. I work from home a couple of days a week and use VOIP (the MagicJack) to give myself a business line for voice calls. However, my work demand for voice calling is not that high.

    The challenge is balancing reliability and cost. How great is your business demand for voice calling, internet, etc? You mention you've experienced outages lately. If the phone/internet goes down is your business "dead in the water" or is it just a minor annoyance? I hope you have called your current provider and requested credits for the hassle of the recent outages. You need to let them know that the difficulties are a problem for you and you are looking at cancelling service. They will likely be motivated to help you more if they know what you need and how serious you are about this.
  23. Consultant macrumors G5


    Jun 27, 2007
    Had cell for 10+ year now. When I was running business I had cell with unlimited incoming minutes (now you can get unlimited in / out).

    Can't live without fast landline internet though.
  24. mobilehaathi macrumors G3


    Aug 19, 2008
    The Anthropocene
    Haven't had a phone land line since....2002. That's easy.

    Cellular only internet is tricky. My father subsists on only using his iPhone for internet, but he is a very light user at home. Most likely it'll be slow and expensive versus what you
    can manage with a landline.
  25. wrinkster22 macrumors 68030


    Jun 11, 2011
    In terms of battery issues; most of the time you will be tethering to a computer you mentioned?
    Computer=usb ports= charged iPhone

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