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Landline phone service, also known as a fixed-line or hard-line telephone, is a traditional wired telephone that uses a physical line to connect to a telephone network and enable voice calls. And is connected directly to a wall socket.

In technical terms, it's a form of analog technology, and it transmits sound as electrical signals over the line, which is connected to the local telephone exchange. The telephone exchange is connected to the public switched telephone network (PSTN), which is joined to other networks around the world. This allows people to make and receive calls from any location with a landline.

Landlines are the oldest form of telephone service. They've been around for over a century and are still common in many parts of the world.

Home phones are pretty reliable and provide good sound quality, but they're not typically able to access data services as mobile devices can.

Yet, in the United States, landlines are still widely used despite the rise of cell phones.

How do landline phones work?

Landlines use an electrical current that is transmitted along a physical connection, such as a copper wire or a fiber-optic cable. This current is then sent to a phone exchange. The exchange will connect the call to the recipient's phone, allowing two-way communication.

Phone calls are routed through a network of switches and routers in order to make the connection between two people. Once the call is established, sound waves are converted into digital signals, which are then sent over the line until one of the parties hangs up.

Do I still need a landline phone?

No, these days, you don't need a landline phone for calling. Most people use a cell phone or use VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) to make calls.

As technology has evolved, the need for requiring a landline service to access the internet is no more despite most providers offering internet and phone bundles.

However, in the United States, many homes and businesses still prefer the option of using a landline. Some businesses like to have a local number for customers to call, but there are a number of ways you can do this without a standard phone line.

What are the different types of landline services?

There are three types of landline phones, which we've broken down below;

Traditional landline

If you've ever had a landline, chances are it was an analog line. These use traditional copper phone lines to convert your voice into the energy that is sent through the phone lines- but they're not ideal in this day and age.

Companies often force customers on long contracts and hidden fees when using them, plus being stuck at home isn't always optimal.

Cellular home phone

Wireless phones operate without the need for physical connections such as wires. These phones use cell towers to make calls, allowing for more freedom as you're not stuck in a specific location.

The versatility of cell networks makes them popular for telecommunications. Unlike traditional landlines that require a physical connection to a network, a wireless phone provides better accessibility as long as you have wireless network coverage.

VoIP home phone

Enjoy crystal-clear phone conversations without relying on physical wires using digital landlines.

Powered by Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP), these phones leverage your broadband connection to reach others.

However, keep in mind that VoIP technology is only reliable when you have a strong internet connection if it's weak or unreliable, then expect potential dropped calls.

Be aware that the security risks from hackers accessing personal information can be potentially higher with VoIP phones on digital lines compared to analog ones.

What features are included with landline service?

A landline service offers a number of features. These can vary depending on the landline network provider and package, but common features include the following;

  • Caller ID: Not just a feature for cell phones. You can get caller ID on your landline too.
  • Call waiting: Be alerted if someone is trying to call you while you're on another call.
  • Call forwarding: To make sure you don't miss a call, forward calls to your cell phone or another landline number.
  • Call blocking: Reject or block unwanted calls from unwelcome numbers.
  • Speed dialing: No need to memorize phone numbers; dial a number in an instant.
  • Landline texting: Not available with all providers, but some offer the option of a landline texting feature.
  • Voicemail-to-text transcription: This feature isn't offered with all providers, but some offer the option to have your voice messages sent to your email in text format.

Advantages of landline phone service

  • Reliability: Not relying on a wireless signal means landline connections can provide better reliability as they don't rely on a wireless connection and aren't affected by network congestion or dead zones.
  • Emergencies: During power outages, you can still use a landline (if you've got a cordless phone that's charged). Using a landline in an emergency to call 911 can help responders see the location, as a landline phone number is associated with a specific address.
  • Sound quality: Landlines are linked to a more stable connection, so you get better sound quality and no lost calls.
  • Rural areas: Unlike cell phones, you're not relying on a cellular signal to be able to make a call. Landlines can still work in rural locations.
  • Cost-effectiveness: Some internet providers offer deals on landline services when you sign up as a package or bundle with your internet or TV service.
  • Battery life: Another important benefit of landlines is that they aren't affected by the battery life of the phone. This is particularly important for businesses and households that rely on the phone for emergency situations.
  • Security: Landlines also have more robust security features than cell phones and are less likely to be hacked or have their calls intercepted.

Disadvantages of landline phone service

While landlines have many benefits, they're not without their drawbacks. One of the main drawbacks is that they are limited to a specific location. And cannot be taken with the user when they leave the home or office.

Additionally, landlines are not as portable as mobile phones and aren't as convenient for making calls while on the go.

Another setback is that landline phones can be more expensive, especially when factoring in the cost of installation and ongoing monthly service fees.

Landline vs. cell phones

Landline phones and cell phones are both methods of communication, but they're also very different.

A traditional wired phone - landlines are connected to a physical line and require a home phone service provider.

Cell phones offer many features like texting, emailing, and internet access that are not available on landlines.

In comparison, cell phones are portable, wireless devices that use a cellular network to transmit signals. They're not limited to a specific location and can be used anywhere within the coverage area of your carrier's network.

This means you can use your mobile phone wherever you have coverage. However, because they rely on a wireless signal, this can be affected by network congestion or dead zones, leading to poor call quality or data throttling.

A home phone service is generally more reliable and provides better sound quality than mobile devices because landlines are connected directly to the service provider. This means that they're less affected by connection issues like dropped calls or poor signal strength.

However, cell phones are more convenient, as they can be used almost anywhere and don't require a physical connection. They have access to a wider variety of features, such as messaging, internet access, and GPS navigation.


Depending on the type of landline, they work using copper wires, digitally with VoIP service, or wireless service.

There are plenty of options to choose from, whether that's a local phone company or a major network for your home or business landline services.

In an emergency, a landline can be used to contact 911 and can help responders locate you, as a landline telephone number is attached to a specific address.

Often used because of their reliability, landlines offer peace of mind for good sound quality and are still commonly used in many countries, including the United States.

Home phone service FAQs

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