67% Of Consumerist Readers Are Cellphone Only

When asked about their home telephone situation, 67% of responding Consumerists said they only had a cellphone. 27.7% have both a cellphone and a landline. A paltry 3.6% only have a landline, and just 1.4% say the use neither cellphone or a landline, using payphones instead. The survey had 7735 participants. Clearly, the cellphone is king.

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  1. homerjay says:

    That number seems kinda high. I wonder how many cellphone-only’s are college students who use their cell phone while at college but when they’re home still take calls from mom & dad’s home phone.

    Personally I know of one person who doesn’t have a land line- but I’m a grown up and everyone I know has a house (including this person, actually)

  2. HrPingui says:

    But wht about people who live in a dorm and have a shared line for incoming calls, but have a skype/cellphone for normal use?

  3. Anonymous says:

    well the only way i could see having a home line, is if you have children who may need to use it in an emergency. but if your a twenty-thirty something, with no kids, a cell phone is all you need.

  4. hypnotik_jello says:

    I’m cellphone only but I have a skypeIn line hooked up to a wifi skypePhone. Guess that kind-of-sort-of counts as a land line?

  5. PinkBox says:

    No sense in paying for another line I’m only going to use to screen telemarketing calls.

  6. Sherryness says:

    I’m 40 years old, female, and have a 5 year old son. I got rid of my land line almost 3 years ago as an experiment and have never missed it. And I certainly don’t missing paying $30 to $50 month for something I don’t need.

  7. weave says:

    Er, that payphone only stat has me wondering about this poll. Someone was having a bit of fun here…

  8. kellyhelene says:

    @homerjay: I’m almost 30, and I don’t have a land line. In fact, I can’t think of anyone I know who does. So no, not just college kids.

    My roommate and I both have cells. We have free nights and weekends, the time we’re most likely to be home, and never go over our time anyways. Why pay $30 for something that will never be used?

  9. Anonymous says:

    Bells should take note. Many of us don’t purchase DSL because it requires a mandatory land-line with its associated taxes-and-fees, or the options for naked DSL in many parts doesn’t compete with, for instance, cable.

  10. TWinter says:

    Well, I think this survey says something about Consumerist readers – this crowd is the sort that tends to evaluate spending and habits a bit more often that your average person. The need for an old fashioned land line has faded from most people’s lives and Consumerist readers are ahead of the curve in realizing that.

    I do still have a land line, but I only have it for the DSL. If the cable company in my town were a little less evil or if there were some other half way decent internet option, I would probably be done with the phone company too.

  11. Snakeophelia says:

    Are the people who say they use only payphones surfing Consumerist at the library?

  12. Seems like these are the kind of people who must not make too many international calls. Half my family lives in the UK ( I used to .. long story). I could not afford to call them if I had only a cell phone. Yikes!

  13. levenhopper says:

    I want to see the results of the demographics survey before I believe the accuracy of this as it applies to the general public.

  14. homerjay says:

    @kellyhelene: Makes sense… I just didn’t know it was becoming THAT widespread. You crazy kids and your new wire-free concepts.

  15. JustAGuy2 says:

    All this tells us is that Consumerist users skew young.

  16. CumaeanSibyl says:

    If I had my way, I wouldn’t own a cell phone at all. We finally bought one last year because we were driving ten hours each way for Christmas vacation in an old car, so we wanted to have something for emergencies. Outside of such situations, we barely use the stupid thing — it spends 90% of its time sitting on a table somewhere. We’re not really losing money on it, since it’s a prepaid plan, so it’s not like I resent the expense; I just prefer landlines and I have no reason to carry a phone when I’m out of the house.

  17. alhypo says:

    Speaking from a statistical perspective, you can’t possibly draw any conclusions from this. However, go ahead and have your anecdotal field-day.

  18. MyCokesBiggerThanYours says:

    I am not surprised by these results at all. Afterall, the whole theme of this site is to be a smart consumer. Why pay for two phones if all you need is one? THe cell phone is the logical choice because it has more features and greater flexibility. The era of hating the cell phone is long over. Its time to hate the landline.

  19. coreyander says:

    not scientific!

  20. MercuryPDX says:

    @TWinter: Amen to that. DSL is the ONLY reason I have to have a landline, because my phone company won’t just give it naked.

    I did make sure it’s the cheapest landline they had, with no long distance or extra features on it.

  21. veronykah says:

    @MercuryPDX: I definitely woulnd’t have a home phone if it weren’t for DSL either. I have the measured rate plan and was totally amused to find out that on my rate plan which is $10/mo I end up paying MORE for charges, surcharges and taxes than for the actual phone line.
    Interstate subscriber line charge = $6.50 ?????
    The other taxes etc add up to $8.28??
    On a $10 a month plan…I hope these companies aren’t wondering WHY there are less and less landline users.
    And to Homerjay thinking its only college students that are cell phone only…why?
    Why does having a house phone make you a grownup?
    I’m 29.
    There is no point to the house phone, my cell phone works just fine in my house too. And for the very few people I know that have a house phone AND cell, I always call the cell anyway. Why call the house phone to find out they aren’t there only to call the cell anyway?

  22. Anonymous says:

    @MercuryPDX: i had that same issue with dsl requiring a land line. so i went with time warner cables road runner and only pay 29.99 per month (btw, don’t have cable either).

    cell phones generally recieve less telemarketing calls as well, that is unless your stupid enough to give it to a cashier when buying batteries. i mean why give your number? do you think the store will ever call you about a sale? and if they just wanted to track your purchases they’d do what lots of stores are doing and offer a perks card. i use to telemarket, and i can tell you that unless you signed a privacy agreement, toys r us, radioshack, etc, they are selling you phone number. not your name also, so thats why you get calls that ask for the head of the household- they don’t know your name.

  23. dazette says:

    Listen up people. You need to think this through. Land line phones are almost certain to work in an emergency situation because the copper is below ground and switching can be “switched” to another central office if need be. Cell service often fails in major disaster situations where cell towers blow down or there is overuse of a cell site(s) (think terrorist attack, bridge collapse, Katrina, etc.) Additionally, cellphones need a battery recharge and electricity may be out for a prolonged period during an emergency. I admit that I am the type of person who has an emergency kit in the car and emergency supplies at home, but as much as I love my cellphone I will never be without a landline backup, nor will I allow my loved ones to ditch their land lines. I am referring here to folks with homes and apartments as permanent residences, not necessarily college students who may be able to get by get by with cell service.

  24. homerjay says:

    @veronykah: Grow up, ya hippie!

    Naw, just kidding. I guess my initial response to that is that having a family of four under one roof it just makes it easier to have one number to give out.

  25. AD8BC says:

    I sure wouldn’t give up my landline. I would absolutely hate having my cell phone number be my only number. I don’t want everybody to be able to reach me at all times of day — only family and business associates have my cell phone number. Other than that, people can call me at home and I will return the call at my convenience.

    I get too many business related calls on my cellphone anyway.

    Of course, I don’t really have a landline, it’s a Vonage line. Good enough though.

  26. tadowguy says:

    Cell + VOIP. I like to work from home two days a week and the VOIP service is about $12/mo, which is an okay price for me to pay. If I didn’t work from home, I wouldn’t have a land line. I was LL-free from 2001-2003 and “back in those days” it caused massive confusion when filling out forms, etc etc.

  27. welsey says:

    @radleyas: I use skype for my international calls…it’s not quite as good as a landline (the call quality can be really bad, robot noises, etc) but I think it’s alright price-wise. You’re definitely right that international calling is horrible from cell phones, I think I would prefer a landline too, but skype is as good as I can get now.

  28. XTC46 says:

    Both my girlfriend and I live together (23 and 22 years old) and both have our cell phones and no land line. It just didn’t make sense to pay for a land line + long distance when a cell is cheaper, and we would have the cells even if we did get a land line. Ive been living on my own since I was 17 and never had a land line. I also don’t think a single person new my phone number at my parent house since I’ve had a cell since 9th grade or so.

  29. veronykah says:

    @homerjay: THAT makes sense. And bravo [I’m assuming] to not having kids with cell phones.

  30. alhypo says:

    This reminds me of something funny. I noticed one of my classmates had some weird sticker on her phone. I asked what it was and she told me it was supposed to absorb radio waves and keep them from going into her head. I nearly busted my gut laughing because the sticker was on the back of the phone — the side that faces away from one’s head while in use.

    Then she attempted the clarify. It’s not supposed to absorb the waves emanating from her phone; It’s supposed to absorb the radiation directed at her phone from the cell tower. Now this, you might imagine, nearly killed me. I’m sure most of you realize that the cell phone towers direct radiation only roughly in the user’s direction. We are all in a perpetual bath of cell phone radiation. Using a phone does not increase your exposure to the tower signals.

  31. Secularsage says:

    Wow, I’m surprised no one’s called BS on the survey methodology yet. I’m currently studying Marketing Research, so I’m familiar with the science of surveys myself.

    Simply put, this is what you call a “convenience survey” which means that, statistically speaking, the results are skewed and can’t be trusted. It doesn’t mean it is or isn’t true; it just means that reliable inferences can’t be drawn from the data.

    It could be that people who are cellphone only are more passionate about the topic, and more likely to answer the survey. It could be that people who have landlines missed the survey because they were too busy being annoyed by solicitors. It could be that some cell-phone only advocacy group hit the site to mess up the data. There’s no way of knowing, since the survey had no real methodology.

    So be careful about drawing conclusions here, folks. Obviously, cell phone-only scenarios are becoming more prevalent among younger people. That’s common sense. But the statistics here are meaningless.

  32. kellyhelene says:

    @dazette: Funny thing is, we had a huge snow and ice storm in Buffalo a year ago (this weekend is the anniversery, in fact). Most people had electric back in a week or so, my internet was back in less than 24 hours. Some people were waiting a month for Verizon to get the phones working again. It was so out of hand the city actually threatened to take them to court over it.

    So living in an old city, with above-ground phone lines, I wouldn’t count on them in an emergency any more than I’d trust a cell phone.

  33. Anonymous says:

    “Simply put, this is what you call a “convenience survey” which means that, statistically speaking, the results are skewed and can’t be trusted”

    Really, says who? Staistically speaking – what statistics?

    “It doesn’t mean it is or isn’t true; it just means that reliable inferences can’t be drawn from the data.”

    If the data is true, how could you not draw a reliable conclusion from it? The survey doesn’t claim to be anything other than what it actually is.

    “It could be that people who are cellphone only are more passionate about the topic, and more likely to answer the survey. It could be that people who have landlines missed the survey because they were too busy being annoyed by solicitors. It could be that some cell-phone only advocacy group hit the site to mess up the data. There’s no way of knowing, since the survey had no real methodology.”

    Isn’t the methodology obvious? You can bash just about every survey. We could, for instance, come up with a similar excuse for any kind of survey you want to name, so your little tirade there isn’t particurlarly relevant.

    “So be careful about drawing conclusions here, folks. Obviously, cell phone-only scenarios are becoming more prevalent among younger people. That’s common sense. But the statistics here are meaningless.”

    Your interpretation about what is common sense is more reliable than a survey? What a load. How do I know your idea of common sense has any reliability what so ever? How do I know that you aren’t working for the cellular phone industry and aren’t being paid to tell us this?

  34. Anonymous says:

    @dazette: Copper is only attached to a single switch. Moving lines to another central office requires routing an incoming trunk to a new central office – something that doesn’t happen on a whim, especially in an emergency.

  35. faust1200 says:

    @Secularsage: I really don’t think anyone here thought it was a scientific survey. So thanks for making that unneccessarily clear.

  36. iaintgoingthere says:



    Cellphone user

    Equals brain cancer?

    How many of us have health insurance?

  37. alhypo says:

    @Secularsage: Actually, at least two people called BS prior to your post, including myself.

    @Darren666: Unfortunately, Secularsage is quite correct. The important component in drawing reliable conclusions from a survey is that the sample respondents are representative of the population. To achieve such a thing, you must insure you get a random sample, of which this is most certainly not. All you can say is that this data is representative of the people who responded to the survey. You cannot make any conclusions about the Consumerist population as a whole.

    And I believe Secularsage was referring to the discipline of statistics, not a specific collection of data. Also, not all surveys are created equal, so while, yes, you can “bash” just about any survey, some well executed surveys allow for much less bashing than others.

    So, while Secularsage’s “tirade” may have been totally irrelevant, your tirade was terribly misguided and ignorant.

  38. StevieD says:

    Reverse 911 only calls landlines to notify the community of dangers.

    Remember that little fact when you give up landline.

  39. stre says:

    Consumerist isn’t trying to make a general population assertion with this survey. The headline itself says “67% of Consumerist Readers are Cellphone Only”. It was a fun survey to get a rough view of Consumerist Readers. If you’re complaining about the lack of a scientific approach or skewed results, go back to sitting in the front of the class at college and asking rhotical questions in order to prove how smart you are. Try being a little less serious on occasion.

  40. mookiemookie says:

    Darren666, you seem to be missing the larger picture here. Secularsage is saying that this survey is not a true random sample, and thus the results received aren’t reliable as measuring the population as a whole. The results are going to be skewed due to the fact that you choose to take the survey, not the fact that the survey chooses you to take part. That introduces too many uncontrolled variables that render the results received as useless in making a definitive conclusion based on the results.

  41. laketravislad says:

    Contrary to the silly assumption made by one poster that all people who own their home have landlines, I own my house and I do not have a landline. Neither do several of my neighbors. With the development of quality DSL via satellite dish (or through cable TV lines) plus the increasingly versatile qualities of cellphones, phone landlines are well on their way to extinction alongside cassette and CD players.