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2007 Sees Wireless Spending Outstrip Landlines 81

prostoalex writes "Each December the Bureau of Labor Statistics prepares a report on telecommunications spending among US households. They analyze the previous year's data, so their most recent release says that in 2006 the average US household spent $542 on their landline, and $524 on their wireless bill. The way the curves are headed, 2007 is likely to become the first year when wireless spending will surpass landline spending. 'To be sure, when corporate cell-phone use is counted, overall U.S. spending surpassed land line spending several years ago, analysts said.'"
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2007 Sees Wireless Spending Outstrip Landlines

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  • I spend $15/month ($9.99+fees and taxes) for my VoIP landline with unlimited in state calling, $15/month for my wifes phone on my folks family share plan and $0 on my cell (provided by work). That adds up to a grand total of $360 for total communications budget. My company also picks up my internet. I guess the telcos must dislike people like me, which is great because the feeling is mutual =)
    • I have 10Mb/s ADSL including TV, phone and unlimited calls to half of the world for about this price. And my mobile phone provider only ask me to make at least two phone calls each year, so my mobile phone costs me less than 30E a year, HW included. Of course, I'm neither average or american.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Hal_Porter ( 817932 )
      In Europe we have Pay As You Go SIMs. You buy one for say $30 and it comes with $25 worth of credit and often some bundled text messages. When you run out, you buy a voucher and top it up. The killer thing is that you only pay for calls, there is no monthly fee. Originally calls were more expensive, but competition has forced down prices. And if you have an unlocked phone which cost a bit more than locked ones but are usually available, when you go abroad you just buy a local SIM and avoid roaming charges.

      • It's the same here in India except there are no locked phones that I can recall. Everything is unlocked and you just go buy a phone you want and stick a SIM you want in it. You can even buy two SIMs and switch between them (this actually makes sense if you have one of those long-validity plans on both, and one is on a long-distance plan) whenever you have to make a call. At one time, you were permitted a certain number of messages per day (usually 100) for free for one rupee (around 2 eurocents) and that wa
    • I don't have it as good as you, but let's see if I'm average:

      $24.95/mo for VOIP (including $5/month for alias phone number) * 12 = $300
      cellphone is like $40 / month * 12 = $480

      Hmph. Guess not. In more than one way. I spend a WHOLE lot less on my landline than I do on my wireless, and I spend, on average, less for my wireless.

    • Not a miser, but I'd say you're in the fortunate(?) minority who is able to mooch off a parent's cell phone service and have your work pick up your own cell and internet service. I would guess the majority of people out there actually have to pay for their own stuff :-).
      • by afidel ( 530433 )
        It's not exactly mooching, I pay them the $180 per year it costs for my line. For the main line my dad is getting more pool minutes for significantly less than he used to pay. He gets like 6,000 minutes for less than he used to pay for 2,000 minutes and now he has no overage charges which would often double his bill. My wife uses a couple hundred minutes a month of which probably 90% are mobile to mobile which doesn't come out of the pool minutes. Oh yeah and the ? is definitely warranted, the reason my emp
  • Landline? (Score:3, Funny)

    by RandoX ( 828285 ) on Tuesday December 18, 2007 @10:33AM (#21738302)
    Didn't know you could still get those.
    • Re: (Score:1, Redundant)

      Yup. I have one with nothing but DSL plugged into it. When my phone service was set up, it was either spend $30/mo on DSL with ~$8/mo for a landline for it to ride on, or spend $60/mo for the same level of service from Speakeasy without a landline.
      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by afidel ( 530433 )
        or spend $60/mo for the same level of service from Speakeasy without a landline

        You keep using that word, I do not think it means what you think it means. Now if you mean the same advertised bandwidth then it's possible, but they aren't remotely the same service either from a TOS perspective or from a customer service perspective.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      The funny thing is that, in most developped countries, the landline usage is actually rising thanks to the ADSL, while in third world countries, everyone has a mobile phone because the infrastructures can be way cheaper than creating a full coverage landline grid from scratch.
      • Most of my friends buy a landline for ADSL but never plug a phone into it. Almost everyone defaults to calling or texting someone on their mobile first, with landlines generally being used as a last resort. Paradoxically, it's often cheaper or the same price to call a mobile anyway, thanks to the plethora of "any network" free minutes. It's this sort of behaviour that's led to the huge adoption in the use of the term "land line" as well, as opposed to "phone line" which was common until mobiles got a footho
        • That's actually he main reason i originally got a mobile. I could talk to my sister 450 miles away cheaper and longer than without. On the plus side when i went to visit her I still had a phone from which i could call back home at the same damn rate, only using my minutes.

          $40 a month isn't bad when i can use it as my primary and only phone. I am tempted to get an iPhone for coolness factor but in order to do so I will have to also get the $20 a month data plan.
    • On the one hand, you have to make and receive all your phone calls from the same place, but on the other hand you get to decide elections. They say one vote can't make a difference, but that doesn't apply to election polls where there's only five landline-owners left to poll and the other four are 90 year olds planning on voting for Roosevelt.
    • by jridley ( 9305 )
      I sure hope so. Cell coverage is pretty much nonexistant where I live. I have a cell, but it's a cheapo Virgin Mobile phone.

      VoIP isn't a good idea either. Even though they CLAIM that all their equipment is battery-backed, I still lose signal immediately upon power failure, and my neighbors that have their VoIP service lose dialtone instantly.

      I've tried all cell providers, and the best I can get at home is "you might get a signal, if the stars are in alignment, but if you make a call, talk fast because yo
  • $ spent but how? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ed.han ( 444783 ) on Tuesday December 18, 2007 @10:39AM (#21738374) Journal

    landlines don't give you varying costs, usage limitations, texting plans, ringtones, MP3s, games, yadda yadda yadda. all landlines do is let you talk/fax.

    of course mobile phone spending is gonna outstrip it. the real question to me is why did it take this long?

    • I'd assume because cell phone service quality isn't as good (but improving) as land lines.
      • by ed.han ( 444783 )
        perfectly reasonable point, but isn't the overage charge horror story one that we all have? i had one in the amount of $600 or so. haven't we all done something like that, or at least know someone who has? and isn't it common for teens and other new user to exceed minutes/txt limitations/month?

        see, i think that more ways to spend money is part of it, but i think part of it is also exceeding restrictions/overuse charges.

      • by LWATCDR ( 28044 )
        I live in South FL. I can tell you that Cells don't work as well as landlines during and right after hurricanes. For all the crap they pull Bell South did the best job of all the utilities in keeping there system up. I could never go with Vontage simply because my cable modem is down more often than it is up.
    • My local land line company is almost as bad with all the add on crap they sell. Call Display, Caller Reveal, Voice Mail, Voicemail Plus, Call Waiting, Call waiting plus, Call Forwarding, Smart Ring, Anonymous caller ID, Call gate, Call Screen, Talking Call Waiting, Internet Call Director, Long Distance 200, Long Distance Saver, Long Distance Saver Plus, etc...

      Still their basic phone rate is around the same as Vonage with unlimited long distance.
    • all landlines do is let you talk/fax.

      and access the Internet through a dial-up connection. there are a remarkable number of home town ISPs that have that to be a profitable niche market.

    • The phone monopolies have been overcharging us for years. Here are few facts, why does anyone need a land-line phone? Well obviously business still use the phone company as their phone and internet provider or high speed connection. So the ma bells have just a few more years before satellite or cable takes this business. As for individuals, there is no need to have both a cell and land-line phone. Most families have multiple cell phones anyway, so why pay 2 bills? There was a time if you wanted any ty
  • I don't even have a landline. The only hours that I'm home, are the hours when nobody would call. That said, I _hate_ speculative articles like these. This is not news, it's speculation. That's what these idiots are for. []
  • It's not surprising, wires seem so 90's when I stop to look at my wireless network, home phone, printer, 5.1 surround sound speakers (yeah it is cool) Won't be long till wireless power is an everyday thing.
  • by Maxo-Texas ( 864189 ) on Tuesday December 18, 2007 @10:45AM (#21738448)
    I reached a point three years ago where the only calls I got on my landline any more were telemarketers.
    So I cancelled it and went to a $55 a month plan with rollover minutes. I finally exceeded that in August ($127! Ouchee!) and had to go to a $65 a month plan.

    I recently got a $16 a month AT&T line just so I could find my phone when I lose it tho. I leave the ringer off and it is good for 25 outgoing calls. If i get a call when I am off plan that looks like it will be long, I take the call on the land line. This is helpful during the holidays when I am off a lot during off-plan hours.
    • by garcia ( 6573 )
      I recently got a $16 a month AT&T line just so I could find my phone when I lose it tho.

      When I first moved to Burnsville, MN in November of 2002 I was able to get a QWest landline that charged per minute (it included 180 minutes per month of outgoing calls). After arguing w/the rep for several minutes (more than 15) that this was indeed what I wanted as I used my mobile for all my calls, I had a pretty decent plan for under $20/mo (I believe it was $18.95/mo). I had ATTBI/Comcast Internet there (QWest
    • Why not get a prepaid mobile instead of your landline? I'm not sure how things work in the US of A, but over here (Australia) we can buy mobiles upfront (for between ~$50 and ~$1000), and a SIM card (either comes with the phone if from a dealer, or for $2). The catch is that you have to put money into it (and almost every telecom company has a minimum of $30 recharge), and it expires (a new fad over here). Still, this means that if you use your mobile very infrequently (ie, you use it when you can't communi
    • You can add one more thing to make your system even better. Sign up for Google's (free) Grand Central [] service. Put your cell phone and your landline on the service. When someone calls your Grand Central phone number (you can choose a phone number in any area code), both your phones will ring. You can choose which phone you want to answer. And if you're mid-conversation and want to switch phones (say, you just walked in your house and want to switch to your home phone; or you are just leaving and want t
    • I recently got a $16 a month AT&T line just so I could find my phone when I lose it tho. I leave the ringer off and it is good for 25 outgoing calls.

      Wow. Using a local provider I get a basic phone line [] for $20 per month, no limits. Though like yours about 90% of incoming calls are telemarketers who don't even leave a message.

  • The suggestion here is that people use their wireless phones more, and while that's still true for some demographics, I think the demographics that don't still outnumber those that do. If you want to see the real reason, look at the price packages that cell companies offer. Most contracted plans start at $40 and people usually choose higher priced plans with extras because they're so afraid of overages.
    • You Americans really pay way too much for mobile. I am having a plan of 300 mins, call-forwarding, all the basics, and pay only $50 per month. Hong Kong $ that is - 7.8 to the USD. Cheaper plans are available. Even pre-paid exists. For USD50 per month I can get an unlimited GPRS data plan, and for double that price an unlimited G3 data plan. And more minutes that you can ever use. In contrast I'm charged about $120 per month for my land line, three of 'm, and those I really need in office. But that again in
      • Cellular service in Europe is cheaper because there are lower barriers to entry for cell providers. In the US, there's just so much land, there's a huge capital investment in building out the network. Not so with Eurpose due to the smaller footprint.
        • You must be American. And a bit geographically challenged. I was talking about Hong Kong. OK it used to be a British colony, but that doesn't make it anywhere NEAR Europe! I have to admit of course the land area in Hong Kong is not big. Though there are quite some mountains in the way and half of the territory is country park...
      • ou Americans really pay way too much for mobile. I am having a plan of 300 mins, call-forwarding, all the basics, and pay only $50 per month. Hong Kong $ that is - 7.8 to the USD.

        I'm American, and I have a plan through AT&T/Cingular that's $85USD for 450 mins/month with rollover and GPRS & 3G unlimited data, 1500 SMS & MMS.

        It's $39 USD for the 1500 text/sms & data, and $45/month for phone service.

        If I used more than 450 minutes in a month, I'd actually think about using Skype, but since I us
  • by TheLoneGundam ( 615596 ) on Tuesday December 18, 2007 @10:52AM (#21738524) Journal
    landline plans start at around 15 USD a month, cell phone plans start at what, 39 USD? So, total dollars spent is meaningless except as a metric for potential businesses to see how much money they can make. It's similar to comparing box office dollar amounts between years -- if the ticket prices is higher in one year than the other, then total dollar comparisons don't reveal anything about usage. A better metric would be the number of land line accounts vs. cell phone accounts
    • It won't be long before the actual subscriber numbers mirror this (if they aren't already). I have a number of friends that live in Beijing now (and I occasionally do too) and the VAST majority of them don't even have a land line. People are quite happy to rely on their mobile phone. Recent government stats in China show land line subscribers falling for the first time in the last few months while mobile numbers are still accelerating upwards. I'll likely do the same (punt the landline) at my US residen
  • I have not had a land line sense college. The only reason I really had one then was because the dorm had one in it and I didn't have to pay for it. I have always used my cell phone for everything. It is just too convenient. I don't know why anyone would even need a land line if they did not need to fax something to someone (which can be done via the internet for a fee). I cant believe that it has taken this long either. I would have figured that when every member of a family has a cell phone the bill
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by UbuntuDupe ( 970646 ) *
      I have a VoIP number, just to have a "local, home" number with unlimited calling. Yet it's often done more harm than good. Everyone I know gets confused beyond belief if I ever call them with more than one number, and yes, even once I explain that one is a cell and one is home.

      Has anyone had problems with giving a cell number to hospitals, law enforcement, etc? I was given a speeding ticket and the officer said cell numbers are not acceptable.

      Also, are apartments, employers, etc. okay with out-of-area-co
      • Has anyone had problems with giving a cell number to hospitals, law enforcement, etc? I was given a speeding ticket and the officer said cell numbers are not acceptable.

        I've never heard of that before. If anyone asks for my phone number (I only have a cell) for official business, I just give them my cell phone number. I usually just put that in the 'home' number field if it's a form. Telemarketers, of course, get nothing (if you're a telemarketer, I live in the dark ages and have no phone number! Sorry!

      • I thought about getting a VoIP line but it has little benefit besides a local number. I have Sprint cell phones with free long distance and my nights begin at 7pm thus 90% of my calls to friends and family fall into that range. Everything else is work related and I am in the office most of the day so I use the phone there.

        As for apartments, employers, ect. giving me grief about a long distance number I have not had a real problem besides they tend to write it down wrong because they are not used to the
        • Regarding the officer: He didn't demand a local number, he said it couldn't be a cell phone. (i.e. the problem wasn't the area code) Don't worry, it's normal for me to be given restrictions that others don't have to follow. The officer was, in all other ways, being a prick, so that's a good theory, and if it matters, that was late '03.

          And the phone number wasn't demanded with the license. Only after he issued the ticket, when I needed to give contact information, did he ask for a phone number and said i
  • Does land-line include cable (Optimum Voice, Vonage, etc.)? I still want to have a land-line, but I'm tired of paying Verizon $90 a month. I plan on switching to Optimum Voice so I can consolidate my bills and save some cash.

  • by Ralph Spoilsport ( 673134 ) on Tuesday December 18, 2007 @11:14AM (#21738794) Journal
    I had both for a long time. But I found the expense of the cell exceeded its usefulness and downsides.

    The McLuhan inversion of the cellphone is "the tether" and I intensely dislike being at everyone's beck and call, and PAYING for the "privilege", I ditched the cell.

    If you want me - land line at either my home or office. If it's less urgent, then email me. If it requires instant attention and I'm on the clock, then IM me. If I'm not responding, instantly, then perhaps I'm TAKING A SHIT AND WANT TO BE LEFT ALONE.

    A cell is no guarantee of access anyway - when I did have it, it was usually turned off.

    Then there's the downside. My brother ditched landline for cell. We have a conversation. He walks to the otherside of his apartment and he gets dropped. Last night I call a friend who also ditched landline. The conversation w nt som t ng li e th s. Garbage. I was able to get enough to him to tell him to email me with his questions, oh, and ditch the fucking cellphone.

    with my landline, I have infinite long distance all over north america. I have DSL and web hosting rolled into it, and with my "extra services" I think I pay around CDN$100 a month.

    And I'm a lot happier being "less accessible".


    • Mmm... still too expensive. Canada is not much better than USA. Now in Hong Kong, I pay $50 (about USD6) per month for my mobile, including 300 minutes calling. I have an IDD plan of $65 (USD 8.5) for 500 mins calling to a.o. USA, Canada, and most European countries. IDD plan is for my mobile and land lines (in my office). That's all. Oh well EU mobiles not included and I do surpass that 500 mins a bit sometimes so pay in the end maybe $500 (USD 60 or so) total for calling. 200-300 mins usage mobile, and ab
    • You're one of those delusional TELUS users, aren't you? ;-)

    • I intensely dislike being at everyone's beck and call, and PAYING for the "privilege"

      That's a uniquely American thing. In most countries, you don't pay for
      incoming calls on cellphones - just like landlines.
      • Well, I'm in Canada, but I know what you're saying. My point is: paying for landline only is cheaper than paying for both, and the quality of cell is so bad, a landline is required. Therefore: I am PAYING for the privilege of the tether, regardless of the (non)cost of incoming calls.


    • Well, I have a cell phone, and I just turn the ringer off most of the time. I do like the convenience of making calls from anywhere, but I don't necessarily like sharing that convenience, if you know what I mean.

      Landlinewise, I have AT&T/SBC's Callvantage VoIP service ... so far I gotta say I've been happy with it. I connected the D-Link box they provided to my house wiring and it works like a charm. Comcastoff had me up to $86/month (!!!) for phone service (started out at $39.95 a few years ago) and
  • The only landline phone I have is in the office at work, so thankfully I don't have to pay for it. I'd have to look on the phone to tell you the number, though (then again, I don't know my own cell phone number, either, but that's a different story, as I never call it ;-). I use my cell phone for everything, and inter-office communication is done by email or direct face-to-face contact.
  • Landmines? (Score:3, Funny)

    by beders ( 245558 ) on Tuesday December 18, 2007 @11:28AM (#21738996) Homepage
    I bought a job lot just after the first Gulf War, haven't spent a penny on them in years...
    • by Pike65 ( 454932 )
      Got to admit, that's how I read it at first too.

      Just when I thought I'd finally escaped that thrice accursed bell curve : (
  • to hell with sbc/ameritech/whatever they call themselves. their service was crappy, their rates too high, and now that i'm paying $200/month to f*ckin' t-mobile, there's no money left for a landline.
  • It used to be that most households had one phone line. For a little while during the dialup ISP era, there were some homes that had two phone lines. Our household got rid of the second phone line long ago when we got broadband cable. We are now back to one land line, that is used mostly for conference calls, many of which are REALLY long, and my partner and I each have a cell phone. I also have an employer provided Crackberry.

    The landline is a basic unlimited local phone line and other than toll free ca
  • The only folks I know that still have a land line are people who have kids old enough to use the phone but too young for a cell phone, or people who live in places without service by accident of geography. 'Cell' service is (slowly) improving. I no longer have to walk up to the street to use my phone at my folks house in hilly Pittsburgh. I reckon before long personal land lines will be like Barney DVDs, something that disappears from the home when the kids get old enough.

  • To be sure, when corporate cell-phone use is counted, overall U.S. spending surpassed land line spending several years ago, analysts said

    What about when corporate landline use is counted?
    I would think corporate land-line would be far more than corporate cell use.
    Also think about the number of international & interstate conference calls happening
    through land lines.
    • Corporations are going the VoIP route, also.
      I know where I work, or entire 10K+ employee base uses VoIP.
  • I originally misread the title of this. I thought it said: "2007 Sees Wireless Spending Outstrip Landmines". I was like, "Hmm, that sounds interesting...". You can imagine my disappointment after discovering it was about Landlines. YAWWWNNNNN...
  • I wonder how they counted VoIP services. As a landline?
    The share of VoIP is substantial in Ontario, to the point where Bell Canada has to run landline commercials and is offering their own VoIP "home phone".
  • No landline at home: 0$

    Cellphone bill: Greater than my landline spending.

    Yup. TFA is correct.

    ps- It is great to not have the phone ring at some inopportune time with a telemarketer, especially when they are calling to offer me a home loan BECAUSE I JUST GOT A NEW HOME LOAN.

    Sorry, different rant.

  • I'm proud that my initial iPhone bills will contribute to this effort. AT&T FTW!
  • The choice of cable vs DSL is clear as day here. The ma-and-pa local cable company isn't cheap has a strict download cap. Past it, they charge like hell per MB. Plus, I have no interest in cable TV (particularly when the most-basic TV plan is $630 a year after taxes... hell no). DSL is pretty reasonably priced.

    As such, I need a landline for my DSL. I actually use it a fair bit. I trimmed it as much as possible (there was a fee to have a long-distance provider... I finally convinced them I wanted no lon
  • About a decade ago now, I cancelled my landline service when the first dual-band cell phones came out. Being in the Baltimore-Washington Metropolitan Area, coverage was pretty decent although there were pockets of poor signal strength. Overall, though, it was more than good enough for my purposes 99% of the time even given how mobile I am, traveling around to conferences around the country. I did have a a few arguments with some businesses a decade ago where they couldn't comprehend how someone would no
  • Really.

    Talk about a wet dream for telephony companies. Getting people to pay for the minutest they use. Getting people to pay for ring tones and the like. Getting people to pay for stuff they can generically access with a simple internet connection and then get them to pay MORE. Better yet, get them to pay for multiple phones for one family.

    Worse, there are people who think this has improved their lives. More money tossed out the door. Sorry, but life hasn't changed, people still get by just fine with
  • I wonder how long it will be before cellphone infrastructure is no longer overwhelmed every time there is a natural disaster / large accident / local news story.

    Right now it is essentially a critical piece of infrastructure that is the first thing to become unavailable in a disaster. And while land lines allow some people's call to get through even when the switch is overwhelmed, a cell tower tends to let no one through when overwhelmed so the backlog of people wanting to get through never gets any better

Memory fault -- brain fried