Pulling the plug

Published on

Starting Nov. 24, you can take your phone number with you when changing provider. Millions more may then go all-wireless.

The Orange County Register (California)

It’s decision time.

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has cleared the way for consumers to switch phone companies without changing phone numbers.

Some consumers plan a radical response — pulling the plug on their home phone and depending exclusively on a mobile phone.

Even before last week’s FCC ruling, 7 million Americans did just that. Analysts expect millions more to do the same after the new rule takes effect Nov. 24.

The reason: Although cell phones remain somewhat unreliable, many people find them adequate. That’s especially the case when you consider that you can save money by cutting the cord on your home phone and relying solely on a mobile handset.

”This is a milestone in the evolution of technologies to make communications easier,” said Harvey Rosenfield, founder of the Foundation for Taxpayer and Consumer Rights. ”People can carry their information and accessibility with them wherever they go — for better or worse.”

Here are some issues to consider as you decide whether to make a switch, now that the FCC has forced phone companies to compete harder to win you over:

Cost to talk. Land lines offer unlimited incoming calls for a flat fee, plus unlimited outgoing local calls. Wireless carriers generally charge by the minute for incoming and outgoing calls.

Cost of features. Cell-phone plans often include voice mail, caller ID, and other features. Local phone companies usually charge extra.

Convenience. Land lines must be physically wired to your home or office. Mobile phones work wherever there’s coverage.

Reliability. Wireless services still aren’t yet as reliable as the networks built by Ma Bell, GTE and cable operators such as Cox and Comcast.

So, is it time to cut the cord and go all wireless? To help you decide, consider the following six categories of phone users and their estimated monthly costs. But before you make a final decision, comparison-shop and find out what your final price will be after companies add taxes and extra fees, which can boost costs significantly.

Consumer Watchdog
Consumer Watchdoghttps://consumerwatchdog.org
Providing an effective voice for American consumers in an era when special interests dominate public discourse, government and politics. Non-partisan.

Latest Videos

Latest Releases

In The News

Latest Report

Support Consumer Watchdog

Subscribe to our newsletter

To be updated with all the latest news, press releases and special reports.

More Releases