Home phone service providers in 2021
You may think traditional landlines are obsolete, but they offer several advantages. In most cases, home phone service still operates if there is a power outage, and you have a backup in case your cell phone breaks or gets lost.
Roughly 40% of American households still have landline home phone service, according to the National Center for Health Statistics.
Shopping for home telephone service? Keep reading for our comprehensive overview, including the best landline providers plus a look at popular call features.
Analog phone service provides some surprising benefits:
Better call quality: A hardwired connection typically gives you crystal clear call quality and no dropped calls.
More accurate location in case of emergency: A home landline automatically provides 911 dispatchers with your address. This makes it much simpler for them to find you, even if you can't talk.
International call rates: International calls can be cheaper via a landline. This is especially true when people in other countries call you because it's more expensive to call mobile phones in many countries.
Home security system compatibility: Some home security systems communicate with your security provider and emergency services via your landline.
Bundled services for more savings: You're probably familiar with the promotional offers available from high-speed internet and cable TV service providers. Bundling your home telephone with your TV and internet services can be even cheaper than purchasing just the cable and broadband alone.
Best landline phone providers
There's a wide range of providers to choose from for your landline service. Here are some of our favorite contenders for best home phone service:
AT&T Phone Unlimited
The wireless giant also offers traditional landlines for its residential customers. AT&T home phone service is available as a standalone or bundled with internet services and/or TV.
Available in 44 states, this Charter Communications brand provides home phone service either by itself or as a package with cable TV, internet, and mobile phone service. Spectrum landlines come with no contracts and their phone plans include very affordable international calls.
Verizon Fios landline
Verizon FiOS Fios Digital Voice
Known for its excellence in wireless service, Verizon provides landlines via its fiber optics network. Options include per-minute rates and an unlimited plan for long-distance and local calls.
Comcast Xfinity landline
Comcast Xfinity phone service uses VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) technology to deliver digital voice services at home. No phone jacks required, and your home calling plan is available on the go via mobile app. Xfinity offers TV and high-speed internet bundles and has good value international call rates.
Cox Digital landline
Cox Voice Preferred
Cox delivers home phone service via its digital IP-based network. No internet is required, however, you can bundle with cable TV, broadband, and/or home automation, security, and medical alert monitoring if you want.
This landline provider can hook you up through your existing phone jacks. Suddenlink phone service is available by itself or bundled with high-speed internet and TV. They also offer mobile phone service.
Suddenlink and Optimum are both owned by Altice, and offer the same options for home phone service along with the other services you expect in a package. You can also manage your landline from your mobile.
You can choose from local calls only or an unlimited long distance plan with this provider. International call rates are available. CenturyLink also offers bundles with TV and internet connection.
Digital Frontier landline service is available as a standalone or with its internet and DISH TV packages.
Mediacom Xtream Home Phone
Mediacom's landline offering includes a range of unique calling features and a strong international call plan suite. You can also get a package with internet service and cable TV if desired.
Kinetic by Windstream gives you unlimited local and nationwide calling on a traditional landline. They also offer affordable internet and TV bundles along with home phone service.
Armstrong Home Phone
This home phone provider operates in a handful of states, mostly in rural areas. Armstrong has landline plans along with cable TV and internet options.
Formerly known as Cable ONE, Sparklight is a digital phone service available by itself or in conjunction with cable TV and internet. Sparklight offers economical local calling or plans that cover the continental United States. Plus, no contracts and a lifetime price guarantee option.
Best home phone plans
Home phone and internet bundles
One of the most effective ways to save on monthly fees for your landline is by bundling. You can get a better price by shopping for TV, internet and phone bundle deals. Some, like Xfinity, also offer service for your mobile phones in their plans. Other options include home security systems and smart-home automation integration.
Cheap landline phone service for seniors
It's vital for senior citizens to have a reliable connection in case of an emergency. Some phone service providers, like AT&T, offer specific discounts to older people. Be sure to ask because not every phone company advertises their senior discounts on phone service.
It's also a good idea to ask about AARP discounts on landline service. AARP works with a range of companies to give seniors a better deal on their essential communications needs.
Home phone service features
Another major consideration in your choice of home phone service should be the features the providers offers. These days there is a large selection of popular calling features that prove useful in everyday life:
Caller ID: This is a given, and almost every provider offers it.
Call waiting with caller ID: Find out who's calling before interrupting your current call.
Three-way calling: This is helpful for group conversations with family and friends, or for work conference calls.
Speed dial: Allows you to enter phone numbers in an instant, even if you don't have them memorized.
Call forwarding: Have calls routed to your cell phone or another landline so you never miss an important call.
Call return: Commonly known as *69, allows you to dial back the last number that phoned you.
Call blocking: Automatically reject unwanted incoming calls from specific numbers.
Anonymous call blocking: Rejects calls with no caller ID information.
Distinctive rings: Know who's calling just by the sound of the ring.
Landline texting: Some providers, like Xfinity, allow you to text from your home landline.
Voicemail to text transcription: This feature isn't available from all providers, however, a few - like AT&T - give you the option to have your voicemails sent to email in text format.
If you frequently call outside of the United States you'll want to look at each provider's international call plans to make sure they have the features you need for the countries you call the most.
Per-minute rate vs. international call plan: You can typically get a plan that gives you either free calling to a set of countries or reduced rates on all your calls. For less frequent users, a by-the-minute rate might be more practical.
Additional fees: Did you know it can cost more to call an international cell phone number than a landline? Make sure you know the terms and conditions of the countries you call before choosing a plan.
Unlimited calling to some countries: Providers like Spectrum, for example, give you unlimited calling to Canada, Mexico, and Puerto Rico with their standard landline plans.
Cheap landline alternatives
Sold on the idea of mobile phones and the internet completely replacing landline service? No problem - there are plenty of options for using your existing services as a substitute for traditional home phone service.
Cheap cell phone plans
Cheap cell phone service keeps you connected, gives you all the features you love from the big guys, and keeps you on the major wireless networks. All this at a fraction of the cost you're used to and without the added expense of a landline.
MVNOs - Mobile Virtual Network Operators - are smaller cell phone providers that run on the big four nationwide wireless networks. They sell their service for up to 50% less because they don't have the high overhead costs of the big guys. They also offer everything you're accustomed to - from unlimited data to mobile hotspot usage.
Voice over Internet Protocol - or VoIP - is another affordable option for landline substitution. VoIP allows you to make calls using your internet connection instead of the phone line. Benefits of VoIP technology include:
It's much cheaper: VoIP providers aren't bound to all of the fees and charges traditional phone companies must pay. You'll typically pay a low monthly fee.
Get the same features: VoIP services usually includes the things you're used to - caller ID, call waiting, voicemail, etc. - at no extra charge.
Flexibility: You can make VoIP calls no matter where you are, as long as you have access to an internet connection.
International calls: International call rates are very low to free with VoIP home. You can typically buy a monthly plan, or pay a very affordable per minute rate, depending on the countries you need to call.
Get a phone number anywhere: Another useful VoIP feature is the ability to choose your area code. This allows you to turn long-distance calls into local phone service.
The best home VoIP service providers include:
Ooma: Very affordable monthly rate, works with your regular home phone, keep your current phone number.
Vonage: Reasonably priced, features domestic and international calling plans, works on your cell phone or home phone, keep your own telephone number.
Grasshopper: Ideal for small business owners, up to six extensions, works on mobile or home phone, a bit pricier because it's geared toward commercial use.
Landline providers FAQs
What is a landline?
A landline is a home phone that's connected to a wire or fiber optic cable to transmit audio data.
How much is a landline per month?
It depends on the home phone provider. A cable landline deal can start at around $9.99 and a DSL/fiber landline starts from around $19.99.
What companies still offer landlines?
Most companies still offer landline services, including Verizon, Xfinity, AT&T, Cox, Optimum, Suddenlink, Centurylink, and more.
Is there any reason to keep a landline phone?
A landline phone can be helpful if you lose your cell phone, or if anything causes the cell towers to be blocked in emergency situations like a hurricane.
By now you should have a good idea of whether or not landline home phone service is right for you. Review the benefits of landlines, find the best phone service providers by ZIP code in your area, and check out their home phone features.
Don't forget to take into account whether you just need local phone service, international call rates, or are also looking for cheap cable and internet packages as well.
Finally, take into consideration landline alternatives like cheap cell phone plans and VoIP service providers. These options may just make it more affordable and sensible to replace your landline altogether.