American Households (Finally) Have More Mobile Phones Than Land Lines

A story by The Associated Press has been making the rounds since yesterday; here’s the version I saw on TIME.com (apologies in advance for the autoplay video). A newly-released government study indicates that 50.8% of homes and apartments in the USA had cellular service only in the latter half of 2016.

Geez guys, what took you so long? 😛

Canadians like myself can enjoy some rare bragging rights here—according to Global News the scales were tipped in favour of mobile phones at least a year earlier. I’m having trouble finding similar data for the UK, but a 2011 piece in The Telegraph indicates that there were more calls from mobiles than land lines in that year.

This isn’t to say that the land line has no place in the modern household. As the AP story points out, copper wires carry their own power supply, making a land line invaluable in case of a blackout. And 911 services are better served by land lines, even IP phones from your cable or phone company, as your location can be pinpointed with far greater accuracy than the GPS on your mobile.

The U.S. mobile to land line ratio might be even higher if it weren’t for the bundling of Internet, phone and TV services by the major providers—meaning that some subscribers would paradoxically pay more by subscribing to less.

I gave up my land line in 2004 and never looked back. I always tell people on the fence about it the same thing: “Why are you paying your phone company fifty bucks a month for a dial tone?”

Sources: Global News, The Telegraph, TIME

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