Is It Time to Cut the Cords?

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If you're like most people, you pay for a home phone and a mobile phone, as well as Internet access for you home, plus a mobile data plan. Do you really need them all? Perhaps it's time to cut the cords and eliminate unnecessary expenses.

Think about it for a minute. When someone asks you for your phone number, which number do you give them by default? Probably your mobile phone number. Why? Because that is the phone that is with you virtually 24/7--almost always within arm's reach. That is the phone that people can actually reach you at whether you are at home, or on the go.

My home phone just forwards to my mobile phone, so why am I paying for both?
Artwork: Chip Taylor
For me, I can literally count on my fingers the number of times my home phone rings in a given month. The vast majority of those calls are charities of some sort or another looking for donations (No, I do not want to contribute to the fraternal order of police and get a '100 club' sticker to mar the back window of my car. Thank you, though.). Besides, the home phone line is set to automatically forward if it is not answered after a few rings. Do you know where it forwards to? You guessed it! My mobile phone.

I don't need two phones. My home phone only works at home, but the mobile phone works at home...and everywhere else in the world pretty much. So, the no brainer solution would seem to be to cut the cord and drop the home phone. It is purely vestigial technology at this point.

Now, let's consider data. Base DSL broadband speeds start at a meager 768kbps for $15 or $20 a month. AT&T offers a DSL Direct Elite service with 6mbps speed for $45 per month. Being an AT&T customer also entitles you to use AT&T Wi-Fi hotspots, but more or less you would be paying $45 per month for 6mbps broadband Internet that only works at your home, and has a 150GB per month usage cap.

Or, for the same $45 per month you can get 4G WiMax broadband from Clear. The 4G WiMax is capable of average speeds of 3 - 6mbps, with bursts of 10mbps or more depending on signal quality. With the wireless broadband, you'd be able to take your Internet with you wherever you may go, and the Clear data plan is unlimited. If you could take your Internet with you wherever you go, you might also be able to reduce or eliminate the data plan on your smartphone.

Your mileage may vary. You have to consider how you use the various technologies you pay for, and whether you are getting enough value out of them to justify the expense.

On the data side, there are certainly pros and cons to cutting the cord, but for many people it may make sense to drop the home broadband and just go with the portable Wi-Fi hotspot. The mobile phone, on the other hand, has become such an integrated part of our lives that for most people the home phone seems like a silly additional expense to be wasting money on each month.

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