Today is the day that I cut my landline umbilical cord. It’s the day that Verizon disconnects my business landline and puts up that “doo doo doo–the number you have reached” referral message that lets people know to call me on my new number instead. I guess I should have seen this landline umbilical cord-cutting coming.
When we first moved to this area nine years ago, we had four phone lines in our house. They were for: 1) home 2) my business 3) my fax 4) our dial-up. Then, within a few years, we made the leap to broadband through our cable provider, Comcast, and disconnected that fourth line.
Then there were three lines in the house.
When we moved into our new house in 2007, we decided that we really didn’t need to have a separate phone line for a fax, since I rarely sent–or received–faxes anymore. We reasoned that should I need to send one, I could just plug the fax line into the home line, and press send. So we didn’t reconnect that third phone line when we moved.
And then there were two lines in the house.
For the past year I’ve had the voice mail on my business phone set up so that any time someone leaves me a message, it automatically rings through to my cell phone–the message does, not the actual call that came before the message was left. That means that if I’m on the road or just out of the office and I need to return a phone call, I would use my cell phone. Soon enough I was going over my minutes on my cell phone plan because of how frequently I was using my cell phone for business reasons. At the same time I was rarely using my business line except to collect voice-mail messages, yet I was paying Verizon about $60 a month (just went up to $63 a month) for that second line.
Then I gave that interview to the Business Week reporter that outlined some of the ways we were going to cut back on our expenses to save money in our down economy, and in preparing my thoughts, I realized that paying for that second phone line just didn’t add up. Why would I continue to pay $756 a year for a phone line I rarely used? For $20 more a month–or $240 annually–I could increase the minutes on my cell phone plan to cover all of my business calls. So that’s what I did. My net savings for the year? About $510.
I just got off the phone with Verizon. It turns out that they have a special department set up to handle long-time landline users who want to “transfer” their service to their cell phone. (See this USA Today article on how many folks are just like I am–living on wireless alone, or nearly so.) Of course, the operator spent the first few minutes of the call trying to convince me not to give up my landline. In the end, we painlessly cut the landline, installed my cell phone number as the “doo doo doo–the number you have reached” referral number, and now I just hope that my regular clients call my old phone number in the next 30 days–the amount of time that Verizon will keep that referral message up and running. After that, my landline business number will just be disconnected.
And then there was one line in the house.