Cutting the Cord

According to the Economist more and more people are cutting the cord in the United States:

IF YOU want to save money, cut the cord. In these difficult times ever more Americans are heeding this advice and dropping their telephone landlines in favour of mobile phones (see article). Despite some of the flakiest mobile-network coverage in the developed world, one in four households has now gone mobile-only. At current rates the last landline in America will be disconnected sometime in 2025.

I cut the cord about a year ago. I had kept a landline to make international calls (everything else went over the cell phone), but Skype, the AT&T cell phone international calling plan, and the incessant public information messages from the city tipped me over the edge.

Two things popped out at me from the above paragraph, the first is that 25% of households are mobile only, a much higher number than I expected, and that the trend will be complete in 2025, which is only 16 years away.

Given that DSL/ADSL speeds have not kept up with those provided by cable and fiber, there would seem to be little point in investing in copper phone lines anymore.


2 Responses to Cutting the Cord

  1. nickschiettecatte says:

    I was working last year at Nokia in Finland and one thing that struck me was no land-lines in the office!! I assumed it was company policy as Nokia is one of the worlds biggest mobile phone producers… but when I asked the guy I was working with, he said that only 2% of the population (the older generation) still had land-lines at home, everyone else had moved to mobiles. He went on to explain that Finland is a big rural country with a small population thats spread out in tiny towns in the wilderness (european equivalent of alaska), it was far cheaper and easier for the phone companies to put up masts than to cable.
    Having said that, there seems to be a similar trend in the UK. The red british phone boxes are being removed where they are no longer used (the one at the end of my street was removed three months ago!) and are now a rare sight! Land-lines in houses now tend to only be there as part of internet connection packages…

  2. The cost of putting in a landline is very high for the phone company, the number I have seen quoted many times is about $1,000 so, as you say, it is much cheaper to put up a cell phone mast.

    Here you get combo packages with phone/dsl, or phone/cable TV/cable Internet. The price structure is designed to get you to subscribe to a package rather than a single service.

    I think long term, phone lines are doomed, the cell phone is such much more convenient, and the 3G and upcoming 4G speeds will only make them more useful.

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