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Wireless-only households multiply

By Andrew Heining / December 18, 2008



Have a landline? Why?

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As Reuters reports, the US Centers For Disease Control recently found that almost 18 percent of US households have no traditional telephone. That's up almost five percentage points from the year before.

Why does the CDC care if you have a landline? They wanted to see if their old method of conducting surveys (presumably by running through a directory of landline phone numbers) was skewing poll results. Yep, guess so.

Leading the trend is the Craigslist crowd – groups of unrelated, under-30 adults living together. Of them, 63 percent eschew the "home phone." Following them are renters, a third of which are wireless-only.

The in-person survey of 30,000 people found that another 13 percent of people have a landline but rarely use it, which, as CBS's Katie Couric points out, means that nearly one-third of Americans get most of their calls on a cell phone.

By some accounts, the landline is destined to go the way of the lavish company Christmas party as Americans reexamine their expenses in this dismal economic climate. As CNET's Steven Musil put it, "Many see traditional phone service, which averages about $40 a month, as a household expense that can be cut, especially since more than 85 percent of the US population own a cell phone."

Looking to save money on phone service? Smartmoney compiled a list of suggestions earlier this month that includes cutting out the landline, bundling services, and giving Skype or Vonage a try.

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