Not Hardly…The truth behind cell towers without landlines

Recently, there have been some editorials touting the demise of the landline telephone system.  We have been hearing that the sky is falling for a long time now so generally we don’t get too ruffled by it, but occasionally we do like to point out that these articles just aren’t accurate.

Let’s see if we can dispel a couple of myths for you. Most of us have heard that wireless (cell phones) communication is taking over and there will be no need for the landline companies. Wireless calls just go from tower to tower to tower, etc., don’t they?  Well, not really. Typically, when a cell phone connects with a tower to make a call, the call is routed down the tower through wires to a base station to determine where the call needs to go.  The connection to the next cell tower or traditional phone is done via landlines.  Sometimes the wireless companies own these land-based facilities themselves, other times they purchase facilities from landline companies across the country.  Basically, think of the wireless world as similar to your cordless phone at home.  Just like your cordless phone communicates with its base station wirelessly, so does your cell phone.  But just like your cordless phone, the cell tower base stations are connected to the landline network to deliver your calls.  So essentially, the wireless world needs landlines to work.

We also hear about how fast wireless 4G technology is, shouldn’t this replace the landline? Two words… “Gigabit City”! Okay, okay…to be fair there are not a lot of gigabit cities out there, and in reality, in most applications, a user does not get to take advantage of a gigabit connection, but some day they will. The take-away here is that the majority of gigabit cities are built using landline based fiber optic cable. Yes, there is wireless equipment that can achieve gigabit speeds, but as a whole, a land-based line has the capacity to provide more speed, hands down, not to mention that land-lines are much more reliable and secure.  A recent nationwide comparison of the top 4 US carriers: Verizon Wireless, AT&T, Sprint and T-Mobile was posted on’s website.  They surveyed the 20 largest metro areas in the United States and came up with national speed averages for each carrier.  True to their advertising, T-Mobile was the fastest carrier where their service was available; with an average download speed of approximately 9.5 mbps.  The other three carriers were a little more than half that speed with download averages below 5 mbps.  In comparison to Pioneer broadband, an estimated 90% of our members can have at least 16 mbps of download speed with some members having the capability of 100 mbps.  As pricing becomes more favorable, and the desire and need to work and play on faster connections increases, the landline carriers will be the ones capable of giving the consumer what they want.

Of course there is also the question of cellular coverage. Other than a quick mention, we will just point out that there are still many areas where Pioneer serves that there is poor or no service.

So when we are asked if it’s all over for landlines, we simply reply, “Not Hardly!”