Has the tipping point finally been reached for the demise of landline telephones?
If you have parents or grandparents that just can’t give up their old wired telephone, and if they have Internet access you can always get them an Obihai device and set them up with Google Voice. The only thing that stops a lot of people from doing that is that Google Voice won’t port an existing landline number to Google Voice. It is possible to do a two-step process, where you port the landline number to a “throwaway” prepaid cellular phone account, then port it from there to Google Voice, but that doesn’t always work. Still, with the cost of landline service nowadays, that’s kind of a hefty price to pay just so you don’t have to change your existing phone number. In the old days the phone company would give you a new number every time you moved (unless you were moving within the same telephone exchange area), whether you liked it or not, yet nowadays people act as though they simply must keep their existing phone number no matter what the cost, and no matter how many telemarketers have it and use it to harass them at dinnertime. I really don’t get the irrational attachment to a phone number, but it seems that’s what keeps a lot of people on landlines.
Another possibility for a landline alternative is that if you have an Obihai OBi202 with the OBiBT add-on USB device, you can use it with a cell phone so your parents or elderly relatives can still use their existing phones, but the calls will actually go over their cell phone service. You will need to have it connected to a computer to do the configuration, but I think in actual day-to-day use it could work with just the BlueTooth connection to the cell phone (I don’t have an OBiBT nor a phone that has BlueTooth capability, so I can’t say for sure). Most cell providers can port landline numbers, though not in all cases.
Many commercial VoIP providers can port a number directly, though not in all cases (even today, not every phone number can be ported by every provider. You may find that only some providers can port a particular number, or more rarely, that none of them can). Nowadays there are many commercial VoIP providers that charge a lot less than what the phone companies charge.
Anyway there are a lot of ways to avoid landlines nowadays. What a change from even just ten years ago, when commercial VoIP was only starting to take hold! I have a feeling that ten years from now, the landline will be all but dead, except in those rural pockets where absolutely nothing else is available. The phone companies may still be around, if they can ever bring themselves to ditch their old copper and start converting to fiber only, but they’ll be providing primarily broadband service, not traditional phone service.
- Over 35% of American households have given up on landlines totally (phonearena.com)
- More Than One-third of U.s. Households Have Completely Ditched Landlines for Wireless (forums.pinstack.com)
- More than one-third of U.S. households have completely ditched landlines for wireless (bgr.com)