Landlines disappear as Americans go wireless

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    By LISA JOHNSON

    Daily Universe Staff Reporter

    Until three months ago professor Tom Robinson resisted buying a cell phone. Now he’s gone completely wireless – recently disconnecting the landline telephone in his home.

    “It got to the point where we were communicating with each other through cell phones so much that when we would go home, we wouldn’t even use the landline,” said Robinson, an assistant advertising professor. “[The telephone] just became obsolete.”

    Just like Robinson, many Americans are turning to their cell phones for their telecommunications. According to a recent study by the Consumer Electronic Association, there is a shift away from the use of landlines to wireless phones.

    Nearly one in five recent wireless purchasers have no landline phone, the CEA found.

    Robinson said in the little time he has disconnected his landline his family hasn’t missed the telephone that was once there.

    “We just weren’t using it,” he said. ” We weren’t calling on it and many cases we weren’t even answering it because we couldn’t find it. And here we are sitting with a cell phone in our pockets – it just didn’t make sense to pay for something we weren’t using.”

    Robinson said his family is going to be saving $50 to $60 a month by dropping their landline telephone.

    “It just makes it really convenient,” Robinson said. “I don’t know. Maybe I’m a trendsetter in this.”

    He may be right. According to the research, Robinson and his family don’t fall into the category of those who typically use their cell phones exclusively.

    The trend is especially prevalent among the young, single age group who rent their homes – including many college students.

    “That can be for a number of reasons,” said Jennifer Boone, communications manager for the CEA. “Cost and convenience are major reasons. The younger generations are more comfortable relying on technology for communication.”

    Scott Stone, owner of Stone Properties, owns various condos that many BYU students call home. He said he has seen the majority of his tenants choose to use cell phones over landlines.

    “It’s a dramatic trend,” Stone said. “It has really flopped one way or the other. Two years ago I would say 90 percent of our renters had landlines, and now 90 percent of them don’t. It’s a huge switch.”

    He said many students want their own cell phone anyway. It makes it easier to receive messages and call home.

    Representatives from Mountain View Management, another property management company, said they have seen a drop in the use of landlines as well. They own more than 300 apartments and houses, and said maybe one in 25 choose to get a landline.

    Megan Garcia, a 22-year-old student from New Orleans, said she and her five roommates have no phone in the apartment.

    “I don’t even have a phone in my house,” she said. She has been converted to the cellphone for six years.

    BYU student Whitney Powell said it is just easier having only one phone to worry about.

    “When you have a home and a family it is more practical to have a landline,” said Powell, from Las Vegas, majoring in marriage, family and human development. “But it just doesn’t fit with our lives as college students.”

    Emily Mendenhall, another student, agrees.

    “When you’re younger, you tend to always be on the go and aren’t home that often,” said Mendenhall from Las Vegas, majoring in French.

    Receiving messages from roommates is no longer an issue for Mendenhall and she said she likes not having to deal with the hassle of two phone bills.

    “Having cell phones just makes things more convenient,” Mendenhall said. “And our generation is all about conveniences.”

    Boone, said there could be many reasons why Americans are shifting away from landlines use.

    “One reason is consumers are more and more satisfied with their wireless carrier,” Boone said.

    The study found that indeed Americans are becoming more satisfied with the cell phone providers they choose. The CEA said the more time people spend researching and shopping around for their cell phones, the more satisfied they are.

    Robinson said his wife spent a couple of months researching what provider to go with.

    “She did research at stores in the mall, on the internet and just by talking to other people,” Robinson said. “She did enough research that I think we will be very satisfied with the carrier we chose.”

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