Thursday, March 12, 2009

Consumer Choice: Dumping the Land Line

New Mexico is eighth in the percentage of households that only use cell phones with 21.1% of our households having dumped the landline or never having gotten one. The report was released yesterday by the Centers for Disease Control and Protection. The source seems unlikely, but an explanation exists. The CDC does health surveys via telephone. Cell phone numbers aren't available for the surveys.
My family dumped the Qwest land line service about two years ago after repeated service interruptions and poor quality from Qwest. Part of the problem, Qwest told us, was that the old wires in our neighborhood and with our 50-year-old home were prone to flaking out when wet. It rained a lot that spring, as I remember.
Ever skeptical of Qwest, I compared Qwest's 14-state service area against the ranking of states with only cell phone households. Qwest states accounted for ten of the top 20 states with households only using cell phones including five of the top eight. Not bad. Qwest states ahead of New Mexico are Utah (2), Nebraska (3), Iowa (5) and Idaho (6). At 26.2%, Oklahoma, not a Qwest state, leads in households using only cell phones.
In fairness to Qwest, it should be noted that the CDC report did not break out the cell phone use by company. It is likely that a decent proportion of the cell phone-only households use Qwest. We don't; we use Verizon.

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