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.

For one, do not acquire a POTS (Plain Ordinary Telephone Service) phone line for your home. These lines are sometimes just as expensive as 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.

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 the iPhone 12 Pro (128GB – Gray) when it first came out. It has a nanoSIM slot for the primary line, and an eSIM for the secondary line. I use one phone line for my phone as that is all I need. I have a SIP client (Acrobits Softphone) which is used with my UK number, and the Line2 app for my toll-free number. This essentially means that my phone has 3 phone numbers servicing it, and I could do more if need be. The toll-free number however allows anyone in the US or Canada to call as a local call.