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Summary:

U.S. Cellular is the latest mobile operator taking a last crack at the dying residential voice market. Instead of using wires to connect your home phone, it’s using its CDMA network.

For $20 a month U.S. Cellular will sell you a home phone line starting June 7. No, U.S. Cellular isn’t becoming a local phone company. It’s using its CDMA cellular network instead of copper wires to deliver calls to wired and cordless phones.

Simply called Home Phone, the service is the same as Verizon’s Home Phone Connect or Sprint’s Connect 2 – a way of squeezing whatever life is left out of the home voice market. As more and more traffic migrates over to data networks, carriers are finding they have a lot of excess space on their voice networks. Why not put that capacity to use in the residential market?

The home device is basically a switch you plug your home phones into. The device then converts your conversation into a CDMA signal which traverses the airwaves to the nearest cell tower. U.S. Cellular will sell the device for a penny in its stores June 7 and online June 20, and for your $20 monthly fee, you get unlimited voice, voicemail, caller ID, call waiting and forwarding and three-way calling. You can’t use SMS, and U.S. Cellular’s data networks are off limits with the switch. You can also port your old home phone number to the device.

Of course, you might figure if you get a U.S. Cellular signal in your home, why even bother with a separate home line? That’s why the service is so much cheaper than a regular mobile phone service. Not everyone will bite, but unless U.S. Cellular suddenly starts experiencing a huge uptick in mobile voice traffic, it’s got nothing to lose.

  1. This is crazy. I paid ~$26.50/month for my landline before ditching it. I now use a TracFone as a home phone and pay less than $100 a year now, and that includes all the above plus SMS. And I’m rural.

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  2. keyser Soze Friday, May 31, 2013

    It’s cheaper just to have a prepaid wireless phone. Not sure that model will work.

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  3. Kevin Mitchell Monday, June 3, 2013

    Keep in mind, this is a household play, not a personal play. This covers 1+ person.
    Also great for seasonal or vacation or rental homes. The LTE operators are doing this as well.

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