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Posted: 6:00 a.m. Wednesday, Jan. 9, 2013

Thinking of dumping your land line?




The dam has burst: Suddenly millions of people are dumping their monopoly-company land lines, and going cell-phone only. This is especially true for those under age 45. It's due to the economy: As people look for ways to trim bills, the land line seems the most redundant, and it's becoming one of the first things people choose to cut.

Monopoly phone companies know this. There have been allegations that they've been making it hard for you to port your land line number over to a cell or Internet phone service. But the feds have recently addressed this with a new sanction that requires them to port (transfer) your number over in one business day. Now, this doesn't include weekends -- so here's a tip: don't port your phone number over on a Friday, as you may find yourself without any phone service at all until the following Monday! Port your number early in the week.

Is dumping your land line right for you? There are some issues to take into consideration when making your decision. For example, 911 service is not always 100% reliable from cell phones. And if you have a home security monitoring, you'd need to switch to a wireless system.

I like the Straight Talk Home Phone Connect as a $15 a month alternative to traditional landline service.

Meanwhile, Google has extended free calling through Call Phones from Gmail for another year. So on your computer, laptop, or tablet, you can place unlimited free calls to landline and cell phones in the U.S. and Canada. This can be a great idea if you're on a cell phone plan that has a cap on talk minutes.