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5/7/2009
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More U.S. Homes Ditching Landlines

Many of the respondents say they only have landlines in order to get high-speed Internet access like DSL.

More U.S. households are forgoing traditional landline telephones and going with only cellular service, according to a new survey by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Twenty percent of homes surveyed only had cellular service, compared with 17% of homes that had a landline and no cell phones. By comparison, the first survey, conducted in 2003, found only 3% of households relied solely on mobile phones.

The survey found that about 60% of homes had both, but 24% of those said they take few or no calls on the landlines. Many of the respondents said they only have landlines in order to get high-speed Internet access like DSL. One in 50 homes surveyed did not have a phone at all, the government agency said.

One of the major reasons for reliance on cell phones is cost, the survey found. Many of the cell phone-only crowd did not want to pay for two phone bills and chose the service that has more capabilities and location flexibility. While this isn't a new trend, some expect consumers to ditch landlines at an increased rate because of the uncertain economic climate.

"We do expect that with the recession, we'd see an increase in the prevalence of wireless-only households, above what we might have expected had there been no recession," report author Stephen Blumberg told The Associated Press.

The telecoms are scrambling to adjust to the new communication reality, as landlines were once an extremely lucrative part of their businesses. For example, Verizon lost 3 million landline subscribers since March 2008 but has gained about 20 million wireless subscribers in the same period, although 13 million came from the Alltel acquisition. The company is looking for new ways to target the home phone market and launched a VoIP Hub that can make calls, send text messages, use Web-based widgets, and will soon have access to an application store.


InformationWeek Analytics has published an independent analysis of government IT priorities. Download the report here (registration required).

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