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«Return to Blog List Why I’m abandoning a land line altogether: bye bye Qwest!

At the end of June, I’ll be abandoning Qwest service entirely, saving about $56/month on phone service. Not that $56/month is outrageous; it’s actually a good bit less than what I pay Tmobile every month, although there really is no comparison between what I can do on my Tmobile-powered Android and what I can do with the land line, which has become pretty useless. And $56 is way too much to pay for useless.

I used to think it was important to have a land line because along with it came a Yellow Pages listing. But in the past 2 years, I’ve logged the calls coming in on the land line. The average number of calls I’ve gotten on the land line each month during that period is between 15-16. Three of those are typically from two long-standing clients who seem to prefer that number to my cell phone (Marcie, Ted: call me on my cell!). About every 3-4 months I get a call from a new prospective client, indicating they found me in the Yellow Pages. At least 80% of those want me to fix a broken down website their nephew built for them in 2002, or something equally unattractive or unrewarding (I’ve learned the magic phrase that makes them go away: “we’re not the right people for that”). During the two years, I have not acquired a single new client who first contacted me on my land line or who first saw my Yellow Pages ad and then contacted me by other means.

By contrast, during that period I’ve acquired approximately a dozen new clients who contacted me at someone’s recommendation, who found me in a web search, or who became acquainted with me via social media. Monthly cost for those? $0. Math is not my strong suit, but even I can figure out that, in comparison, the Yellow Pages ad is not very cost-effective.

And the other 12-13 calls per month? People from India selling offshore programming and “web designing” services (why do always say “web designing” and not “web design?”). No kidding. I guess in India they assume web developers here are so busy that we need a lot of help, because they call and they call and they call. I understand they’re just trying to make a living, but I do get tired of telling them I’m not interested.

The other reason I have held onto my land line is so I can have a fax machine. But I realized recently that I have not needed a fax machine in more than a year, and probably could have emailed a scanned document saved as a pdf in its place. Faxing has become outmoded as a means of communication. It’s time to dump the fax machine and move on.

I’m looking forward to being done with Qwest. I expect it will feel a bit like it felt when I was able to replace Microsoft Office for Mac with Open Office: lighter, more flexible. And $56/month more in my pocket. And I can live without explaining several times a month that I don’t need web designing services.

Update 6/16/2011: This did not factor into my decision, but when I called Qwest to cancel as of July 1, I was able to reserve the land line number for one year for $65, during which time a phone message directing callers to my cell phone number will be played (I expect that means I will continue to hear from programmers in India, sigh…). If I decide I made a mistake during that 12-month period, I can have the land line restarted. It’s nice to have the fallback option, though I don’t foresee using it.

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