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Telephone Customers Moving Away From Land Lines

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Telephone Customers Moving Away From Land Lines

As if the telephone companies didn’t have enough worries over the state of their bottom lines, the F.C.C. says that the total number of residential and business telephone “land” lines in use decreased last year to 192.3 million, from the previous year’s number of 192.6 million. As many as 3% of telephone users have abandoned their land lines and are relying exclusively on their cell phones as their only telephone. And rather than having a second dedicated telephone line installed for a fax machine or dial up modem, some customers are using their land line for these purposes and their cell phone for primary use. For those who move frequently, the expense of installation and connection charges can be steep. In this case, there is significant savings to rely solely on a cell phone with regard to both the cost, and the sometimes lengthy wait, for telephone installation and service connection. Leap Wireless cellular of San Diego, California has jumped on this bandwagon. Leap offers unlimited incoming and outgoing local telephone calls with its “Cricket” service program, which helps keep in check charges for overuse of prime time minutes for daily calls. The shift toward exclusive cell phone use represents a change in the way customers have traditionally used the telephone. Until the advent of widespread use of cell phones, the telephone was a way to reach a fixed geographic location; the cell phone has changed telephone use as a means to reach a person, regardless of where that person may be.

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