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Cutting The Cord

A growing number of cell (or wireless) phone users are getting rid of their land lines (wired or traditional phones). What are the pros and cons of switching to full-time cell phone use?

Sam Simon, chairman of the Telecommunications Research and Action Center, a nonprofit group that promotes the interests of residential telecommunications customers, told CBS This Morning what types of users make the best candidates for the switch to all-cellular service.

Disconnecting your home phone and relying on a cell phone for all calls is certainly not a good idea for everybody, Simon says, but it's something to consider if you fall into certain categories:
  • Couples. They don't do a lot of talking. Or theyÂ're on the move or not home a lot. Chances are they already own a wireless phone, so using one for all their needs will probably be cheaper.
  • Empty-nesters. Their kids do not live at home. TheyÂ're retired. Or they work a lot; perhaps they travel and do very little calling from home. It simply might be more convenient and economical to have one phone with one number that they can take wherever they go.
  • College students. They live with other people but don't want to worry about sharing a phone and splitting a bill.
  • Single people who live alone. These folks can take the phones out of their homes without disrupting anyone else's life.
For other groups of people, Simon says, it is not a good idea to solely rely on cellular service. This includes people who make a lot of local calls and stay on the phone for a long time.

If you have teen-agers who stay on the phone for one to two hours any given evening, wireless-only service is a horrible idea for you. Wireless plans offer a set amount of monthly local calls and anything over that must be paid for and itÂ's not cheap.

Generally, all-cellular service is not wise for seniors concerned with the per-minute system. It might deter them from making important phone calls.

People who work at home should also forget about cutting the cord. While it will give them mobility, they are generally on the phone a lot, so they will probably end up paying more with a wireless-only setup.

There are a couple of things you can't do if you go wireless. If it is essential to be listed in a phone companyÂ's white pages or yellow pages, then you are out of luck.

Also wireless service is not as cost-effective if you are using the line for a fax or Internet service. Consider using a wireless for your primary talk line and a land line for your fax or Internet hookup. This way you get the best of both worlds.

For more information on various telephone plans, check out the the Telecommunications Research and Action Center Web site.

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