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AT&T Cannibalizes Its Own Landline Business with New Wireless Replacement

Phillip Dampier March 27, 2013 AT&T, Consumer News, Video 9 Comments

at&t-wireless home phone-silver-450x350AT&T is accelerating the demise of its own landline business with a new wireless home phone product that is cheap for voice calls but could spell the end of your DSL service in certain cases.

AT&T Wireless Home Phone service provides contract-free unlimited nationwide voice calling for $20 a month ($10 if you are already an AT&T wireless phone customer sharing your Mobile Share minutes).

The service includes a base station ($99.99 prepaid or free with two-year contract) that receives AT&T’s wireless signal and integrates with your existing home telephones. The landline replacement includes caller ID, call waiting, three-way calling and voice mail. There is a $36 activation fee, a “Regulatory Cost Recovery Charge” of $1.25 per month and all the local taxes and surcharges that go with your current landline. Unless choosing the prepaid option, an early termination fee up to $150 applies. The restocking fee for customer returns is up to $35.

In certain cases, forfeiting your landline could mean the end of your DSL service if you do not remind the phone company you want to keep your broadband service intact. If you don’t AT&T and other phone companies might disconnect all of your services.

There are other caveats:

  • Call quality is only as good as AT&T’s network and reception in your home;
  • Caller ID only includes the calling party’s number. No name information is provided;
  • Emergency 911 calls lack exact geographic information, which could make locating a caller more difficult;
  • The service is unregulated and has no local or state government oversight to guarantee call quality and reliability;
  • If power fails, an internal backup battery can keep the system running for up to 36 hours or 3.5 hours of talk time;
  • The service cannot be used with home security systems, fax machines, medical alert systems, credit card terminals, dial-up Internet, or other data services.

Verizon Wireless offers their own version of this service: Wireless Home Phone Connect, for about the same price. It gets mixed reviews from owners because of complaints about call quality.

[flv width=”640″ height=”372″]http://www.phillipdampier.com/video/ATT-Wireless-Home-Phone 3-27-13.flv[/flv]

AT&T’s product promotion of its wireless home phone service. The pricing information in this video was intended primarily for existing AT&T wireless customers and is slightly outdated. (1 minute) 

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Paul Houle
Paul Houle
8 years ago

It’s really sad that anybody would be in a place where they’d be worried about their DSL service.

I just hate it how Time Warner and Verizon rub salt in my wounds by continuously running ads about how bad my service is despite the fact that they’ve got no interest in offering me service.

James Cieloha
James Cieloha
8 years ago

Every AT&T customer should be ashamed of both Randall Stephenson and AT&T for their decision to abandoned it’s entire rural landline operations very severely. I feel that both Randall Stephenson and AT&T are trying to be way too big being like the Wal-Mart’s, the Marlboro’s, the Joe Camel’s, the Paramount Pictures with the movie theater chain of the 1940’s, the Clive Davis’s when he was at Columbia Records in the 1970′s, the Neil Bogart’s of Casablanca Records fame of the 1970′s disco era, the Trinity Broadcasting Network’s, the David Smith (one of the Smith brothers from Sinclair Broadcast Group), the… Read more »

Josh Taylor
Josh Taylor
8 years ago

This is good news for the dying pony express.

I can live without phone or internet.

Josh Taylor
Josh Taylor
8 years ago

If you want to take down the landlines, then take down your wireless towers and get them out of our states.

txpatriot
txpatriot
8 years ago

If anyone is considering ditching their traditional landline in favor of a wireless option, BEFORE YOU DECIDE, be sure to call the wireless provider and ask them if you can keep your number! FCC rules REQUIRE that customers changing from wireline to wireless, or wireline to VoIP, and all other permutation, be allowed to KEEP THEIR NUMBER. If your number isn’t important, then no problem. But if it is (e.g., you have business cards for your home-based business, etc.), don’t assume the carrier will “port” your number to the new provider. They may not ask the question,, and if you… Read more »

Ian L
8 years ago

I’ve thought about moving my parents to either Sprint or Verizon’s version of this. But then we’d lose DSL. Slow as it is, VZ DSL still offers better service than the alternatives (all of which are wireless), whether that means cheaper (vs. Millenicom LTE) or faster (compared to other wireless ISPs). For what it’s worth, cellular home phone options, to my knowledge, DON’T charge the same taxes/fees as landline ones; you’re billed cell phone taxes, sure, but they’re a bit lower than landline ones, which make up around half my parents’ home phone part of their bill. Also, if you… Read more »

Colin Y
Colin Y
8 years ago

One thing you can be sure of is that you can you can kiss reliability right out the door. I can barely keep a call going for any extended period of time on any AT&T wireless phone and it will not be any different for this device. By the way, VOIP services like Vonage would be a lot better (unless you have problems with your internet). The thing about wireless is that when a tower gets really crowded the service area shrinks and if you live in an area that have crowds that may gather (i.e. stadium), you may have… Read more »

SusieSplicer
SusieSplicer
8 years ago

Before you consider this, talk to victims of hurricane Sandy….Are you prepared to go for weeks with no phone service while your power is out? AT&T is doing this because Randall does not want to pay the work force a fair wage…The landline work force makes twice what the mobility workers make….Of course, nothing is going to change his wage and benefit package, which is outrageous. He has positioned T at the top of the most hated companies in America list…..What a legacy! In addition, he destroyed BellSouth…A company that made money, believed in customer service AND took care of… Read more »

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