US Government reports are expected to show consumer cell phone expenditures passing land line expenditures

Since the invention of the telephone, land lines have always been an intrinsic part of American culture.  The telephone always took a central spot in the home, a place shared by many family members and a source of communication with the outside world.  From the old rotary dialers to the more familiar modern designs, the home telephone has always seemed a timeless icon.

However, a new report may soon show that the home telephone is headed into its twilight hour, replaced by chic modern cell phones like the Voyager, HTC Touch, and the iPhone.   The government report on phone expenditure, which is released each year, is expected to show for the first time household cell phone expenditures passing land lines.  Last year, land lines held a narrow edge with $524 spent on cell phone bills per household and $542 spent on residential and pay-phone services on average.

Cell phones already vastly outnumber land lines, by current estimates.  Current figures put land lines at about 170 million nationwide, while there are about 250 million cell phones in use nationwide.  Additionally, if corporate use is added to the expenditures, cell phones surpassed land lines a few years ago.

The shift has been rapid.  Only six years ago, American households spent three times as much on land lines than on cell phones.

Service providers are looking to rapidly shift their business towards the more lucrative and growing cell phone market. 
Eric Rabe, senior vice president for media relations at Verizon, commented on the slow death of the land line, saying, "As a company that once made the vast, vast majority of its revenue on phone calls, for 10 years we've been moving away from that and trying to re-establish ourselves in other businesses because we could see the traditional telephone was a mature business, it was not going to grow and indeed might even shrink."

The 2006 government survey, conducted by the Labor Department, contacted 7,500 households to form its estimates.  In 2006
Voice Over Internet Protocol (VOIP) phones were counted as land lines, while this year they will be counted separately, something that may further cut into land line's numbers.

In this modern era of digital revolution and wonders it is truly intriguing, but a bit sad in a nostalgic sense, to observe the slow death of the land line as society shifts away from this venerable household apparatus.

"And boy have we patented it!" -- Steve Jobs, Macworld 2007
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