Sprint is now selling the Sprint Phone Connect System, a landline alternative for small businesses and homes ready to give up a landline but wanting the convenience of a desk phone.
Phone Connect comes with two cordless phones—though up to four phones can be connected to the system—for a one-time fee of $49.99 with a new line or upgrade and a two-year contract. From there, users can make unlimited local or domestic long-distance calls for $19.99 per month (before taxes and surcharges).
Phone Connect includes many of the same features as traditional landlines—voicemail, call waiting, caller ID (this is phone number only, unless the caller is in the user's contact list), call forwarding (additional charges may apply), call blocking and three-way calling.
Plus, for users or businesses that move around often—construction sites, pop-up retail, company events, etc.—there's the benefit of simply moving the phone to wherever you need it, without waiting on the phone company. The Phone Connect system doesn't need to be plugged into a wall jack or other device to make a call.
For users who already own a conventional corded or cordless device, Sprint offers Phone Connect 2—a plug-and-play device that lets users plug their current phone into a Phone Connect terminal. Sprint says the terminal is compatible with most corded and cordless phones.
Additionally, users have the option of keeping their current phone number or choosing a new one.
The phones, called Digital Enhanced Cordless Telecommunication (DECT) phones, rely on dual-band 800/1,900MHz CDMA technology and can receive over-the-air updates.
Cutting the Cord
Americans have increasingly been saying goodbye to their landlines. Often, the move is part of a cost-saving measure, but young people are also more inclined to use only their mobile phones.
While 15 years ago nearly every home had a landline (more than 96 percent), by 2011 that figure had fallen to 71 percent. According to U.S. Census Bureau data released in September, in households led by people between 15 and 29 years of age, approximately 66 percent rely on mobile phones alone, versus 28 percent of the general population.
Not Everyone Wants to Go Mobile
In some areas of the country, landlines are still likened to life preservers. Fire Island, a community on Staten Island's Long Beach, recently won a battle with Verizon Communications, which wanted to move away from copper networks after Superstorm Sandy washed much of it away in late October 2012.
Verizon had supplied residents with a voice-over IP (VoIP) solution, saying that any network it rebuilt—at great cost and energy—might be swept away in the next big storm.
Residents found the solution lacking in some emergency features, too often drop calls and having echoes; some complained of not being able to reach 911 for emergency assistance.
On Sept. 10, Verizon conceded, announcing that it would deploy fiber to the western portion of the island again.
The "main driver" of the decision, Tom Maguire, senior vice president of National Operations Support for Verizon, said in a blog post, "was simply that our customers told us they were interested in a wider set of services beyond voice—services that no other company was willing or able to provide."
He added that Verizon relies on its customers "and they rely on us."