Think twice before dumping your landline

What you need to consider before you opt to cut the cord

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CALGARY, AB, Apr 26, 2015/ Troy Media/ – Thinking of dumping your landline now that your family owns a handful of smartphones? You aren’t alone. In 2013, 20 per cent of Canadian households dumped their landline. Among Canadians under 35, households relying solely on mobile communications jumped to 60 per cent. There’s no sign that the trend has reversed.

Saving money is the reason most people give for cutting their land lines. But saving money is no sure thing if your cellphone becomes your main phone.

Dumping your landline not always best option

Here’s what you need to consider before you opt to dump the landline:

Do you make lots of local calls? Sticking with your landline may be your best bet. Local calls are always free on your landline.

How many people are in your household? Larger families, especially ones with school-aged kids, should consider keeping the landline. Teaching your kids to call their friends for free from home, and save the cell phone for emergencies when they aren’t at home, can keep your family’s mobile costs rock-bottom low.

Do you make international and long distance calls? While some people insist calling from their cell phone saves money, putting a free long distance package on your landline can also make calling from home a slam dunk money saver. Compare what you’re paying now with the deal you’re being offered before you cut the landline.

Dumping your landline may not save you money

Do you make long calls? Stick with the landline. Cellphones charge by the minute.

Do you live outside a major city? You’re more likely to wind up without power or cellphone service when the weather gets bad. In remote locations, cell phone signals come and go and sometimes they aren’t there at all. If you’re relying on a cellphone during the power outage, you’ll need to keep several extra batteries charged if you don’t want to lose communication. If your old-style landline (one that doesn’t need to be plugged in) is hooked up to a live outlet, you’ll still be able to make calls in an emergency, whether or not you have power.

Is there a senior citizen, handicapped person, or a young child in your household? Then you have a few other reasons to keep the landline. Cell phones can be difficult for the elderly, people with mobility or vision issues or very young children to use.

In case of a medical emergency, you may need to remain calm enough to give emergency workers and police your location from a cell phone. Emergency calls are tracked automatically when you call 911 from a landline.

Do you think a cell phone will protect you from nuisance calls? It used to be that, if you had a cellphone, call centres couldn’t get the number. No more. A cell phone does not protect you from surveyors, sales pitches or fraudsters. These days, nuisance callers can get you on both your cell and your landline.

How much will cancelling your current contract cost you? Be prepared to pay a cancellation fee if you are currently signed up with contract with your phone company.

Make sure the cost of cancelling one service won’t send the price on other services – such as cable, internet and long distance – sky-high. Compare your contract carefully with the deal the mobile provider is offering you before you cut the cord. You may be getting your landline for as low as $25 per month with a long distance package. Is your home Internet or television service half price because you have a home phone with the same company?

Can you get a better deal? Call up your home phone provider. Tell them you’re thinking of cancelling your land line. They just might make you an offer that makes keeping your landline make sense.

Jane Harris-Zsovan offers her readers practical money advice for the real world. Jane is the author of Eugenics and the Firewall: Why Alberta’s UFA/Social Credit Legacy Matters to 21st Century Canadians.

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