Telephone is essential. It is used by doctors to setup appointments. It is used by your landlord to reach out to you. It is used by Social Security, and DPA to reach out to you regarding your benefits. Telephone can be considered as an essential utility in these modern times. Even if you were homeless, you likely can afford a telephone line to where you can get voicemail, and return calls when your phone is fully charged. Keep in mind, you likely qualify for Lifeline.

For one, do not acquire a POTS (Plain Ordinary Telephone Service) phone line for your home. These lines are sometimes more expensive than a cellular line, and doesn’t offer any benefit except for if you needed a fax line. In most cases, you do not need a fax line. As for VOIP lines, I would only acquire one if it is much cheaper than a voice line, and you have a limited cellular plan. In which case, I will then acquire a SIP application, and use that application to install your credentials for your VOIP line. If this is not possible, find a VOIP provider that will support SIP. My preference is cellular. Even if you need an unlimited plan, you can get one for cheap if you are willing to pay annually. If not, you will be paying more for a month to month plan.

I do not recommend buying your phone from the carrier. Your carrier will have likely installed bloatware on your phone, and lock the phone to their network. These are all hurdles you have to deal with when dealing with your carrier. And if you decide to change carriers, you may end up buying a new phone. This is an environmental waste, and a financial burden on you Рthe consumer. Instead, I would recommend buying the phone directly from the manufacturer. For phones, I would recommend the Pixel from Google (Android), or the consumer version of the iPhone (Apple iOS). Neither one of these phones are cheap, but they are solutions that allows you to choose your carrier, and change carriers. It is also from the manufacturer, and likely to last for at least a few years. Also, both of these phones support dual SIM, so you can have your personal line, and work line on one phone.

As for cellular service, if you have a good plan, Lifeline might be of value to you. Lifeline is a federal program that can give you free phone service. This might be a limited plan, and keep in mind that calling toll free numbers counts against your calling plan. If you have unlimited minutes, this might not be an issue for you. You would also have to note the amount of data. If you have home internet, and your phone connects to that home internet connection, then the data does not count against you. If Lifeline is not an option for you, then you may have to consider a premium phone plan.

What I Do

I own a space gray iPhone 14 Pro Max with 128GB of storage. Since I almost never take pictures, then 128GB is overkill for me. This means the storage will outlive the phone. On my phone, I have a eSIM for my primary service which is for data, voice, and SMS.

Calls to my [Cellular] Number will ring to my cellular phone on eSIM 1. I also have [International] Numbers which is not essential, but the prices are affordable for me. This allows people outside of the US to call me at more preferable rates. All of my [International] Numbers rings a SIP client on my phone.