Is the Business Land Line Headed for Extinction?

VoIP-IconA phone is pretty much an indispensable expense if you are in business. As cell phone usage has increased, many business people have begun wondering if having a land line still makes sense. The fate of the business land line phone seems questionable to some. Land lines and cell phones both have advantages and disadvantages, and there are some features of land lines that indicate they will not be completely disappearing soon.

The Cost of a Business Phone

Most people have a cell phone for personal use these days. In fact, according to DigitalBuzz, as of 2006 cell phones have outnumbered land lines. Many people no longer have a land line in their home and rely exclusively on cell phone service.

For small businesses with a single employee, having one cell phone for business and personal use often seems like the most practical solution. However, businesses that do not have a land line may loose customers and money as a result. Cell phone reception is less reliable than a land line. A cell phone has a greater chance of poor reception and this can lead a customer to think less of a business that only has cell service.

Cell phones are also easily lost, stolen or damaged. A recent article at Yahoo Finance discusses huge erroneous charges one customer received when she lost her cell phone before an overseas trip. A missing cell phone can add up to phone expenses and lost time that can easily outstrip the cost of a land line.

Technological Issues

Cell phones have technological features that are not possible with a land line. They can receive text messages, surf the internet and act as an organizer. The portability of a cell phone is also an obvious advantage for a business person. Land lines do not have these features.

Cell phones can not receive a FAX, however, and FAXing is often essential to many businesses. Cell phone batteries need recharging. Forgetting to charge batteries can lead to lost time and customer dissatisfaction. This is another technological drawback when exclusively using a cell phone for business phone service.

VoIP Is Making Land Lines More Versatile

Voice over internet phone, or VoIP service is a developing technology that is bridging some of the gap between what a land line and a cell phone can do. VoIP service connects a land line through the internet and can result in substantial savings on phone bills, especially for long distance calls.

With VoIP a customer pays only for internet service. Regular calling charges are eliminated. VoIP can support FAX as long as the FAX is digital and not analog. However, VoIP service is dependent on the reliability of the internet provider. If the provider is not too reliable, VoIP service will not be reliable either.

What the Future Holds for the Business Land Line

According to technology expert Dr. Andrew Cohill, the advantages of a business land line do not appear to be going away any time soon. Land lines have more reliable service that supports the credibility of a business. They are acquiring more versatile features with the advent of VoIP. What they lack in portability and other features, they make up for in reliability and improved business image. The future of the business phone will probably be an evolving blend of cell and land line service.