Home

 › 

Articles

 › 

What Is a Landline and Why Is It Important?

Closeup of male hand holding telephone receiver while dialing a telephone number to make a call using a black landline phone. With retro filter effect.

What Is a Landline and Why Is It Important?

Key Points

  • A landline is a telephone that plugs into a wall outlet with a telephone cord and differs from phones found in telephone booths.
  • Landlines are still found all across the world but require service through a provider and are often bundled with other services.
  • The biggest advantage of owning a landline is reliability, as dropped calls and interference are rare.
  • Landlines are distraction-free devices and are considered safe and not hackable like smartphones.
  • The cost and limited range are the main drawbacks of owning a landline.

The term landline has become antiquated as those devices die out, but it’s something many people are curious about. If you’re wondering what a landline is or if it’s something you should consider, we will break down the word and explain it in basic terms.

What Is a Landline?

If you’re under a certain age, there’s a strong chance you’ve never encountered a landline. The term refers to the types of phones people used before cell phones existed. Not smartphones, but “dumb” phones that were carried in small suitcases and bags.

A landline is a telephone that plugs into a wall outlet with a telephone cord. While it may sound like an insane concept, this analog tech has come a long way since they were invented. They differ from phones found in telephone booths, although they serve the same basic purpose.

Landlines are found all across the world but require service through a provider. Who that is varies by region. In many areas, there are more cellular phones than landlines. While landlines are often bundled with other services, they are tied to your home or business.

Smartphones took a while to take off but have largely replaced landlines with new homeowners in many parts of the world. More than 80% of Americans own a smartphone, with over six billion smartphone subscriptions worldwide.  

It’s important to note that they are different from VoIP services, despite the fact they can have a similar style. Landlines use fixed telephone networks, while VoIP phones allow you to make or take calls using the Internet

A Memorable Classic
AT&T 210 Trimline Corded Phone
$23.30
  • Speed dial and volume control
  • Emergency keys
  • Wall mountable
  • Backlit keypad
  • Includes 7-foot cord
We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.
02/28/2024 01:12 pm GMT

Landline Pros and Cons

While you can still find landlines installed in newer homes, most connections have been there for decades. If you move into a home or rent, you may have noticed a phone jack in the wall similar to the one shown in the image below.

That means you “may” be able to use a landline, but only if those lines are connected. You’ll also need to see if service is available in your area. If you’re considering a landline, you’ll want to weigh the pros against the cons beforehand.

Landline Pros

The biggest advantage to owning a landline is reliability. Do you frequently experience dropped calls on your smartphone? That’s not a concern with a landline outside of significant storms. As long as the phone lines are intact and in good shape, dropped calls and interference are things of the past.

Landlines are great for emergencies and instances where cellular networks could be down. That’s one reason many homes still have a phone jack, even if the service isn’t active. You can also use it to ring a smartphone and locate it if you misplace it in your home.

That means clarity often increases with landlines compared to their cellular counterparts. While a poor-quality landline won’t be as clear as a solid smartphone, the clarity and call clarity are better overall. That’s ideal for long conversations where you don’t want to be interrupted. It’s also where owning a “dumb” phone of this nature is handy.

It’s easy to become distracted with smartphones, especially between texts and social media notifications. You won’t get those on a landline. They are basically distraction-free devices unless you have call waiting. The phones are incredibly easy to use but still have things like Caller ID and other features designed to make life easy.

That leads us to another perk of owning a landline — security. There’s no way to get around the occasional spam call. While annoying, however, nobody will hack a landline and steal your photos or credit card information. Outside of phone taps, they are considered safe and not hackable like a smartphone. If you are considering whether or not to install one, remember these advantages:

  • Reliability
  • Clarity and Quality
  • Fewer Interruptions
  • Ease of Use
  • Security

Landline Cons

While useful, there are several drawbacks to owning a landline. The most significant for many people is the cost. On average, you’ll pay between $10-30 a month for landline service in the United States. That may not seem like much, but it is if you only use it occasionally. You may have to pay for installation as well.

An image of a Japanese electrical outlet (wall socket or mains) and phone jack
An example of a standard telephone jack alongside an electrical outlet.

The other major disadvantage is range. Cell phones allow you to take a walk and talk or make calls from almost anywhere on the planet. That’s not the case with landlines. Your range is the phone cord’s length or base station if you’re using a cordless phone. If you are still thinking about whether or not to install one, consider the disadvantages:

  • Monthly Cost
  • Potential Installation Cost
  • Range

The Wrap-Up

As someone who grew up with landline phones in more than one room, it’s hard to imagine owning a home without one. I still have one today, although it is rarely put to use. Whether a smartphone is worth it depends on your needs. The pros outweigh the cons if you can get a deal on service, even if that’s being phased out in many areas. 

  1. AT&T 210 Trimline Corded Phone
    $23.30
    • Speed dial and volume control
    • Emergency keys
    • Wall mountable
    • Backlit keypad
    • Includes 7-foot cord
    Buy on Amazon

    We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.

    02/28/2024 01:12 pm GMT

Frequently Asked Questions

Are landlines being replaced?

In many parts of the world, landlines are being replaced by VoIP services.

Does AT&T still use landlines?

Yes, although the company has significantly reduced its presence in the area while bolstering fiber optic networks.

Is a home phone a landline?

Home phone is a term that can refer to a landline or smartphone used from your home.

Are landlines good for seniors?

Landlines can often be an excellent choice for seniors, considering it’s a device they are familiar with, and they are easy to use.

Can you have a landline without the internet?

Yes, the internet isn’t required to use a landline unless it’s part of a bundled cable package.

To top