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AT&T tempts landline users to move to wireless phone services with contract-free offer

Ian Paul | March 21, 2013
Traditional copper wire telephone service is a dying business thanks to the growing popularity of wireless smartphones and tablets, and AT&T knows it.

If all you're looking for is a service to make calls, $35 per month for nationwide and international calling minutes is a pretty good deal; AT&T's standard home phone service starts around $24 per month.

However, Wireless Home Phone won't get you out of paying all those annoying fees attached to telephone services. AT&T's fine print currently says Wireless Home Phone includes a $36 activation fee per line, and you may have to pay a "Regulatory Cost Recovery Charge" of $1.25 per month, in addition to other charges.

Potential problems

Nevertheless, Wireless Home Phone could convince some people to jettison their landlines--at least for anyone in areas where AT&T wireless service is available. One problem there is that traditional landlines are often the only viable communication service available to residents in remote, rural communities where cellular service can be spotty at best. So for a small portion of the U.S. public, POTS is an essential lifeline to the rest of the world.

But that may be changing; AT&T announced in late 2012 that it plans to invest $14 billion to expand the company's 4G LTE network and wired broadband network to cover 300 million Americans by the end of 2014.

The investment means 99 percent of current wireline areas would have access to a modern wireless or wired network, making it much easier to cut or at least reduce traditional networks. What's not clear, however, is whether wireless networks can stand in for the reliability that basic telephone services have provided for decades.


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