Telephones: Wireless vs. landline becomes a cultural question

Millions of cost-cutting Americans are asking: Ditch the landline phone and go completely wireless, or keep paying two bills for dependability and peace of mind? Many have already clipped the cord.

Wireless-only households have surpassed those solely dependent on landlines, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which tracks the information.

Still, some won't give up on their landline with its comforting dial tone whether out of laziness, concerns about safety, sound quality, the cost of cell phones, or simply – tradition.

"It's a fixture in the house, kind of like the refrigerator," said technology analyst Larry Magid. "It's just there, it's reliable, it's wired and glued in place because of the cord, and there's no meter on it."

There were 270 million cell phones in use in December 2008, the most recent figure available from the trade group CTIA-The Wireless Association. That figure's up from 110 million in 2000, and it means 87 percent of Americans have a phone they take everywhere, the group found.

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