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Smart phone/ House phone
Old 03-18-2013, 07:20 PM   #1
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Smart phone/ House phone

i can retire in less than 5 years and i am tracking my monthly expenses. I have to make some decisions regarding the Cable, internet, smart phone, and house phone expenses. i have been thinking for some time now of getting rid of my house phone because I have the smart phone. When at home I'd rather use my house phone but I can no longer justify the cost of having both.

I've gown accustomed to using the Internet, checking email, etc. on the smart phone. I text and I even use several Aps. Giving up the smart phone is not an option. I am having difficulties giving up the house phone.

I'm asking everyone if you have both? If you gave up your house phone do you regret it? I'd appreciate any help on this matter.

As for the cable; I am going to commit to getting rid of the premium channels for six months to see how it goes.

Monthly expense

AT&T bundle
- House phone $50
- High speed Internet $43
- U-verse (Cable) with premium channels $145

AT&T iPhone $100
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Old 03-18-2013, 07:29 PM   #2
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We have had several alternatives to not having a house phone.

For awhile we had a metered phone service. It was very cheap ($10 or so a month and gave us very limited free minutes). We had this in case of an emergency where the smart phone didn't work and to have a phone line for faxing which I was doing at the time. We actually kept the phone in a drawer and literally never used us more than once or twice in a couple of years.

Then, for a few years, we had Vonage. This was a reasonable substitute for having a landline. It was a little cheaper than the landline and we had free nationwide long distance and had long distance to landlines in some foreign countries. That had the advantage of giving us a "home number" for the family jointly (instead of individual numbers) and was good for long distance calls. At the time our cell phones had a certain number of minutes each months so this was helpful since it was unlimited.

The negative of no landline is for 911 services but we felt OK taking our chances on that (i.e. gambling that anyone calling 911 would be able to give our address).

However, over time we began using our cell phones more and more as cell phone minutes got cheaper and cheaper. Now we have unlimited minutes on the cell phone so we don't need to save cell phone minutes.

About a year and a half ago, we dropped Vonage. I pay $30 a year to Skype to be able to use Skype to call people's phones (my DH does the same). I like having that since I spend a lot of time at my computer and like to be able to talk on the phone while wearing a headset and still using my computer. Note that while I can call phones on Skype people can't call me on Skype from a regular phone number, they can only call me on Skype from Skype. I've toyed with getting a phone number on Skype which would give me a home phone number again, but that would be another $5 a month which I haven't decided to spend yet.

So -- right now we have smart phones with unlimited minutes (everyone in the house is on a shared plan) -- and DH and I each spend $30 a year to be able to call phone through Skype.
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Old 03-18-2013, 07:38 PM   #3
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Gave up the landline long ago and the only thing I miss is the bill.
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Old 03-18-2013, 07:51 PM   #4
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I kept my landline for many years for the sole reason was because I have always had one. Once I dropped it, it was never missed. I noticed you have a package deal. Sometimes the savings isn't as great as you may think though. My phone/Internet combo bill was about $60 with $30 of it being internet. After I dropped phone they raised Internet to $40, so my savings was only $20 instead of $30.
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Old 03-18-2013, 07:51 PM   #5
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AT&T cell plan here and a big thumbs up for Ooma, a VOIP phone that doesn't need your computer to be on to work. Great sound quality, message machine, call forwarding to the cell as desired, ability to send and receive faxes, lots of enhancements our old Qwest wired phone system didn't have or they wanted major bucks for... Cost us about $200 for the box and $10/month for the premium level service. We've had Ooma maybe 3 years and it kicks the tail of our old land line. except when the power or internet goes down, though it takes messages during that time. You do use the in home phone wiring and phones if you wish.

We dropped cable some months back in favor of a Netflix and Hulu subscription to the tune of $16/month. I like it much better, my gal is missing some regular shows like Mike & Molly or Broke Girls and complaining about the subtitled Korean, Japanese, and French movies. I think my brain feels a bit less like cottage cheese without cable.

Edit: another cool Ooma advantage: when we go south 1000 miles for the winter we take the Ooma box with us, hook up to our internet down here, and our phone number and calls are just like up north - people think we are still in Oregon. No domestic long distance charges either. (check Costco for the box)
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Old 03-18-2013, 07:55 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Katsmeow View Post
Note that while I can call phones on Skype people can't call me on Skype from a regular phone number, they can only call me on Skype from Skype. I've toyed with getting a phone number on Skype which would give me a home phone number again, but that would be another $5 a month which I haven't decided to spend yet.
A simple solution to that problem is to get a free Google Voice number, then send any incoming calls to your smartphone without disclosing your number, or let them go to voicemail so you can call them back on Skype.
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Old 03-18-2013, 08:00 PM   #7
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I hate to think Rachel with Card Services won't be able to reach us on our land line number, so we are planning to get a cell phone with that number to replace the cell phone number I have. Other than Rachel, the only people who call our land line are other solicitors who apparently don't give a sh&t about that Do Not Call list and maybe once a week or ten days, a friend who doesn't have our cell phone number.

If you have access to other cable service/Internet providers, I am sure you can negotiate a package that will save you money over what you are paying now.
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Old 03-18-2013, 10:47 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lodell View Post
....I'm asking everyone if you have both? If you gave up your house phone do you regret it? I'd appreciate any help on this matter.

As for the cable; I am going to commit to getting rid of the premium channels for six months to see how it goes.

Monthly expense

AT&T bundle
- House phone $50
- High speed Internet $43
- U-verse (Cable) with premium channels $145

AT&T iPhone $100
We went through a similar process over the last year or two. Easiest decision was to drop the land line for Ooma. We ported our old landline number (which we had for 25+ years) to Ooma and now pay ~$3.67 a month plus $120 a year for the Premier Ooma service, so a total of $13.67 a month. I'm not sure whether we will need the Premier service when our renewal comes around, so our cost will go down to $3.67 a month for unlimited US calls.

Your cable seems very high. We have Dish and a reasonable package that meets our needs with DVR and 3 tvs for ~$70 a month.

For phone, we use AT&T gophone which is only ~$9/month (voice only) but you would need more. It seems like they have a smartphone plan for $65 a month with 1GB of data but i'm not sure if you could use your iphone with gophone once your AT&T contract runs out but it might be worth contacting them.
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Old 03-19-2013, 07:38 AM   #9
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I have a Google Voice (GV) number that I set up to ring my computer and smartphone at the same time. I can choose which one to answer incoming calls. As for outgoing calls, I will almost always use by computer (Google Voice) with a blue tooth. Since outgoing calls would cost me minutes on my smartphone. The way I use GV costs me nothing for GV. As far as I know, I am calling all kinds of phones (cell, hardline, other). I have the lowest possible minutes on my cell phone plan.
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Old 03-19-2013, 07:58 AM   #10
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I dropped my land lind two or three years ago. No regrets. Especially love the no more spam calls (although a few have cropped up on the cellphone).
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Old 03-19-2013, 09:17 AM   #11
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We dropped our landline when we moved back into the city from the burbs. Also don't miss it or the monthly bill. Bought a cheap flipphone cell phone for $40 that the wife loves and we use it as our "home phone" on a cheap plan.
The physical Bell lines are still in the house of course and we get our DSL service over them as "dry loop" service from a small ISP. So, we don't even have to pay them for internet either... ha
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Old 03-19-2013, 09:25 AM   #12
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We keep the landline for 2 reasons:
1) Voice quality. Cell phone quality is still sketchy. I need to speak to my elderly father, and with the drop outs of the cell phone, he gets very frustrated. As it is, he only processes 25% of what I say. I don't need another deficit.

2) A "joint" phone. Sometimes I want to call a "family" not a person. Same for us, we want to receive as a family.
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Old 03-19-2013, 09:29 AM   #13
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DW & I both have Net10 semi-smart cellphones ($30-35/month for both of us with voice, text & rudimentary data).

We dropped our landline at least 5 years ago (was about $32/month then), and don't miss it at all. If we had smartphones (some day), we'd probably miss the landline even less.

We have not found a bundle that's a cheap as our own well researched individual plans with the same features (speed, channels, etc.). We have XFinity/Comcast hi-speed internet ($49.95/mo) and Dish satellite TV ($65.26/mo just increased Dish America all HD, 1 DVR, 3 TVs).
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Old 03-19-2013, 10:32 AM   #14
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Originally Posted by Midpack View Post
....We have not found a bundle that's a cheap as our own well researched individual plans with the same features (speed, channels, etc.). We have XFinity/Comcast hi-speed internet ($49.95/mo) and Dish satellite TV ($65.26/mo just increased Dish America all HD, 1 DVR, 3 TVs).
+1 Each time I have looked into a bundled plan it has been more than what we are paying. Our DSL internet only is $49.95 a month as well and we have the same Dish plan that you do. We add Ooma for our "landline" phone numbers (two lines) which runs about ~$14/month and ATT gophone which runs ~$9/month for each cellphone.
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Old 03-19-2013, 10:45 AM   #15
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You can get a prepay no contract cell phone for as little as $30 a month unlimited text and minutes. Actually, you can even get them cheaper with some new start-up outfits, though their methods may not be as simple and straightforward (using WIFI for phone calls when possible, etc.) You can also purchase an Ooma device for $100-$140, attach it to your internet service modem, and only pay local and state taxes for unlimited phone service within the USA. Or, get other devices even cheaper that require more consumer fiddling to get working.

However, when you give up POTS (plain old telephone service) you give up what may be the most reliable form of communication we have in a disaster.
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Old 03-19-2013, 10:57 AM   #16
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Has anyone here used a wireless gateway so that the cell phone hooks into the wired (and handsfree) phones already installed?

That's what we're thinking of doing. Porting our landline to a cell number, then connecting that cell, via bluetooth, to one of these (or similar)

Amazon.com: Xlink-cell Bluetooth Gateway: Cell Phones & Accessories

That way we can still pick up, anywhere in the house. And we keep a "family" phone number. The only thing we lose is the ability to fax... not a big deal.
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Old 03-19-2013, 10:58 AM   #17
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When we moved 3 years ago we decided to give using cell phones only a try. Never missed the land line for one microsecond.
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Old 03-19-2013, 11:02 AM   #18
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Originally Posted by Lodell View Post
i have been thinking for some time now of getting rid of my house phone because I have the smart phone. When at home I'd rather use my house phone but I can no longer justify the cost of having both.

I've gown accustomed to using the Internet, checking email, etc. on the smart phone. I text and I even use several Aps. Giving up the smart phone is not an option. I am having difficulties giving up the house phone.

I'm asking everyone if you have both? If you gave up your house phone do you regret it? I'd appreciate any help on this matter.
Lodell,

Currently, I have both.

I'd love to get rid of my landline phone expense. I am paying just under $30/mo to AT&T for a 50 calls/mo. plan (It was $20/mo for years and years. The AT&T monthly charge has been slowly creeping up the last few years.)

I have a Samsung Epic SII smartphone through Sprint. For whatever reason, I noticed that the cell phone sound quality diminished when making calls to/from my house right about the time I got the smartphone (Jan. 2012). I live in a suburb of a major metro area, so it's not like I live out in the sticks. Sprint then gave me their AirRave (in-home signal booster) for free, which helps, but still the cell phone sound quality does not come close to matching what I get on the landline phone. If I know that I will be on a long call with someone or a call where I need to exchange numbers, etc., I will opt for the landline phone. Plus the landline phone is simply more ergonomicaly comfortable to use.

I also have a fax machine connected to the landline. Although I use it infrequently, it is nice to have.

I, too, love my smart phone, especially being able to check emails, find cheap gas prices, and google for information when away from home. I just wish the sound quality was consistently better....especially at my house.

I'm glad to hear about OP's good experiences with Ooma. I may need to look into that.


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Old 03-19-2013, 11:05 AM   #19
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- House phone $50
We choose to keep our landline (don't like to give the cell phone number out to commercial parties and a few other significant issues) but use a much less expensive plan than you've chosen. ATT offers a plan called "Consumer's Choice Basic" which costs $9.50/mo plus taxes. Unfortunately the taxes and other fees bump the $9.50 up to $17.11/mo but still much, much less than the $50 you're saddled with.

Why don't you just switch to a cheaper landline plan?
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Old 03-19-2013, 11:07 AM   #20
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you will find that if you drop the land line your cost for DSL and tv service will jump. Threaten to disconnect it all and they might give you a break.

Dumped my traditional land line a few years ago and added a majic jack for faxes and the occasional call that i don't want to make on cell phone. Works well for me and I can unplug it and take it with me when we head south for the winter. $70.00 for the equipment and $20 a YEAR for the service.
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