Clark Howard: Wireless ‘land line’ cuts phone bill

Consumer expert Clark Howard’s column appears here each Thursday in conjunction with Deal Spotter, a weekly print section in The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

Listen to Clark's live radio show 1-3 p.m. weekdays on AM750 and 95.5FM News/Talk WSB.

Listen to Clark's live radio show 1-3 p.m. weekdays on AM750 and 95.5FM News/Talk WSB.

Still stuck paying $35 or more for a home phone that you can’t or don’t want to give up? I have a new option that could lower your cost for the same service to $15 a month.

Verizon and Straight Talk are teaming up to introduce something called Home Phone Connect, which promises unlimited local and long distance calling, voicemail, caller ID, three-way calling and more, all with no contract. Visit VerizonWireless .com or StraightTalk.com for more details.

This home phone service does not require an Internet connection. You purchase a $99 wireless base station that you put wherever you get a good signal in your home.

Once you purchase it, you can even port your number over from the monopoly local phone company.

Meanwhile, most people who stick with the local phone company are paying $35 or more for their service, not including any special features.

If you don’t want to fool around with new technology and still want to keep the land line you have, I have another way you could save some money even on that.

In order to make sure you’re paying as little as possible for your current land line, call up your phone company and ask for the “state-regulated tariff rate” or the “plain old telephone service (POTS) rate.” If the rep feigns ignorance, ask to speak to a supervisor and make your request.

With the tariff rate, you get a basic dial-tone with no frills or extra features. It should cost between $7 and $18 per month, though you’ll still pay an additional $10 or even $13 per month in junk fees.

For example, I pay $29 a month for a land line at home that my wife wants. So that means I have to skip eating a couple of days a month to make up for the expenditure — only kidding!

Find more answers to your consumer questions at Clark’s website. And get more savings tips from Clark’s previous blog posts.

– Clark Howard — Save More, Spend Less, Avoid Rip-offs — for the Atlanta Bargain Hunter blog

5 comments Add your comment

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FREE Phone and Internet

October 11th, 2012
9:12 am

I do all my talking, texting and internet searches/needs at my job so I don’t have to pay $.01 for any phones. Landline, wireless, cell phones, etc. Spend other people’s money, not yours! When I get to my home, I do not want to be bothered unless I choose to. Football Party: Giants vs 49′ers this weekend at my house! Those who know me will be there!

Ed

October 11th, 2012
6:00 pm

Has anyone tried this unit. I cannot find any reviews of customers who have actually purchased it and can describe how it works.

SJ

October 12th, 2012
8:48 am

Check the Verizon Wireless website for reviews, the review I read are mixed with some folks loving it and others hating it.

Bryan

October 12th, 2012
1:14 pm

Caution…these things (cellular based “landlines”) save money but do not offer “true” 911. It is GPS based and does not give the fire/police/paramedics the actual address. Keep in mind also that if you live in a multi-unit building that you and potentially many others share the same exact GPS coordinates. But with a “true” landline the cops, etc. know exactly what unit you are in. I have kids and this is a big deal to me. Saving a few bucks isn’t worth the loss of 911 protection.