Ditch your landline telephone

Assuming you haven’t already.

A few years ago, my wife and I tried out a number of the VOIP players (in Canada) to save money on our landline. We tried Vonage and it was horrible…although I suspect it was possibly either a crappy Linksys router I had at the time or traffic shaping by my ISP that was causing the poor audio quality.
iPhone screenWe eventually decided to ditch the landline altogether and simply increase our cellular plans to the point of being more practical as a landline replacement. The money we were spending on a landline (VOIP or otherwise) was greater than making a few adjustments to our cellular plans. We currently have a family plan where we can call each other unlimited locally and have a few hundred long distance minutes between each other a month for anywhere in Canada (I can call her in Vancovuer from Toronto and it’s treated like a free local call).

We don’t do a lot of long distance but needed to find a better, cheaper way to make long distance calls on our cell phones. Our provider didn’t really have any compelling options for long distance that were affordable so we looked elsewhere.

We actually use two different services which I’ll explain in a minute why.

The first service is Yak.ca. They have decent rates for North America and bill you monthly. Make sure you don’t get a paper invoice to save the admin fee. The thing we like about Yak is that they have a callback service. We have unlimited incoming calls on our phones and this means we place a call to the Yak service number, hang up and then 2 seconds later, the service calls us back and then we dial our number. This works great during the day or anytime outside of the evenings & weekend hours. They also have local access numbers you can use as well.

The other service we occasionally use is XpressCall which is a prepaid service. We use this service typically on weekends or during free evenings as their rates are slightly better than Yak. They regularly have top up deals where you put $10 on your account and they give you a bonus. This service is a dialaround one where you dial one number, then dial your destination number – it also tells you how many minutes you have left based on the number you dialed and how much you’ve prepaid which is a nice feature. I have a number of pre-programmed contacts that use this service so I don’t have to remember the digits for my parents for example.

Both services work great with our iPhones and Yak also has a calling card you can use with any phone (if you’re at work or a friend’s).


  1. Tyler Ingram says:

    We both have cellphones without a landline. The only issues I see not having a landline are (for us anyway):
    – we cannot buzz people into our apartment building when they are visiting. Our building manager won’t allow us to use our cellphones. It would be fun to be able to let someone into our building when we are not at our building ;)
    – You have to make sure your cellphone is always has a charge! But then I guess more people are using a cordless landline phone these days too so I guess they too would have to worry.

    Though we do save like $40 a month not having a landline! HAH, take that Telus!

  2. I’ve been on Vonage for about a year now. I have a cellphone plan which is good inside Canada, my wife has the lowest cellphone plan we could find.

    Vonage works for me as it’s unlimited North American Calls and unlimited to the UK which we use every so often for family/friends.

    I was part of a Start-up back in 2000 which used the call back approach you described. I’ve also tried Shaw Digital Phone, which is to my mind a fake VOIP offering (when we moved we had to change our number? how digital is that).

    If I wanted to I could take my vonage with me when we travel and get the calls free wherever I was. I don’t know that its the best offering around, but it works well enough.

    I’ve never understood why I should pay $50 – $60 a month for a traditional landline.

  3. May C says:

    I’ve been landline free for about 3 years now. My main reason at the time was that most of the calls I got at home were telemarketers and I felt it was ridiculous to keep it and be annoyed with telemarketer calls. Also, it was cheaper to get a cellular phone since I have it with me everywhere and won’t need to miss a call when I’m not home.

    I use Skype to call long distance and around time and it works for me. Of course, the main problem with this choice is that when the power or internet is down, I’m kind of stuck.

  4. Kyler says:

    Landline? What’s a landline? LOL
    We’ve also been landline free for over three years.

    @Tyler: Maybe your building works differently, but in ours the buzzer connection is local. All we have to do is have a phone plugged into the telephone wall socket to answer the buzzer (no need to actually subscribe to a telephone service).

  5. Tyler Ingram says:

    @Kyler – that’s what we thought too, but they said we had to tie it to our landline number. Perhaps I’ll pester our building manager again when I see him next. Though our building was built in 1965 or something perhaps its a bit dated? *shrug*

  6. Lloyd Budd says:

    Yak.ca sounds good!

    When J was pregnant we got a landline for the 1st time in years. The old copper system is handy in emergencies.

  7. Agree with Lloyd – we keep our landline around for the ‘911 factor’. That and cheap LD – my wife talks on the phone a lot! Also, don’t really like the idea of my 3 year old son using my cell phone on those rare occasions that he actually talks on the phone.

    • John says:

      I guess cheap long distance is relative to the total cost…$0.02 – $0.05 a minute versus the cost of a landline + LD plan – I guess it really depends on how many minutes a month before you break even.

      I was also under the impression the whole baby/911 thing was a non-issue nowadays as the 911 location based systems are much better (and mandated by the government to be that way). I don’t have kids so it’s never been an issue for us.

      There are a number of gadgets out there now that let you connect your cellphone via bluetooth to a base station that you can connect a regular phone (cordless or otherwise). Friends have these and they cost about $20-30 and it basically just turns your cordless phone into a bluetooth headset. Probably a lot better for kid use than your iPhone.

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