Making Your Money Last

Don’t Get Rid of Your Landline Phone

Dropping your service might not save you any money.

If you rarely use your landline phone, dropping your service could be tempting. But it may not save as much as you think -- especially if you bundle your phone service with TV and Internet.

Going landline-less means directing business calls -- from your credit card company to your doctor’s office -- to your cell phone, which could increase your monthly wireless bill. Some services, such as security systems, digital video recorders and satellite TV, tap into the phone line; switching to a wireless box or mobile phone could cost you extra. Landlines are still more reliable than their wireless counterparts -- including VoIP service -- particularly during bad weather and home emergencies. Paired with a corded phone (the kind that doesn’t need to be plugged into an electrical outlet), landline service generally continues in a power outage. During an emergency, a landline phone gives 911 dispatchers an exact address, while cell phones give a caller’s geographical coordinates, accurate only to within 50 to 300 meters. That could delay the arrival of emergency services.

To keep the landline but cut costs, price no-frills, local-only serv­ice with your regional phone company as well as smaller competitors. Verizon’s local-only service generally costs less than $15 a month in most areas. Expect taxes and fees to add $5 to $10 to your bill.

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