In the wake of the recent WHO news release that cell phones emit enough radiation to cause cancer, this is a perfect time to tell you how I stopped using a cell phone 7 months ago and why I don’t plan to go back.
My cell phone history
First you need to understand that I purchased my first mobile phone contract 10 years ago in 2001. Since that day I was continually updating to the latest and greatest the industry had to offer and, beginning in 2005, was the guy holstering the “smartphone” complete with access to email, GPS mapping, Internet, RSS, streaming audio, video, and the like.
You get the idea… I was always connected, until that fateful day toward the end of October 2010 when I was downsized. Naturally, since they would no longer pay for my mobile phone plan I had to transfer ownership of the contract back to myself – because there’s no other option right? Or is there?
The decision to go without a cell phone
My other option, the option most of us simply overlook, was to let my mobile phone plan expire and go without. It is possible… I’ve been without a cell phone ever since and don’t plan to go back. Why? Because I simply don’t need one and after living both scenarios I prefer going without. Have you ever thought about going without a cell phone?
Remember that I was a heavy cell phone user before deciding to get rid of mine. Depending on your work you may be able to do it too. Never forget that you can choose your own way.
Alternatives to using a cell/mobile phone
Cell phones can be very handy, and in some circumstances are a need, but not always. If you challenge yourself you could certainly do without one – you did 10 years ago right? Each of these alternatives will also allow you freedom from cell phone radiation concerns.
- Landline – You could cancel your mobile phone and return to a landline. Many media companies will give you a package deal that includes cable or satellite TV, Internet, and phone service for one discounted monthly price.
- Skype – You can place free calls to other Skype members using your computer. If you have a laptop you could do it anywhere you have an Internet connection. I use Skype when I will be talking to others who have a Skype account. If you want to call non-Skype numbers you will have to pay a per minute fee (at time of writing they have plans for as low as $01.2 per minute.)
- Google Voice – Since October of 2010 I have used Google Voice as my exclusive phone service. The best part? I can place calls to any number in the continental United States completely free of charge. International calls are very low cost, but I have yet to make one. I purchased a Plantronics Voyager Pro bluetooth headset for around $70 (cost of the average monthly cell phone plan) and use it to talk through my laptop. Yes I need my laptop and an Internet connection, but those are pretty much constants for me anyway so it works great for my situation, and the price is definitely right.
- MagicJack – A little device that plugs into the USB port of your computer and accepts a regular phone line input allowing you to make calls over your computer with any old phone. The device and service cost around $40 (plus S/H) to get started. It is basically a VOIP service like Vonage but it is much cheaper and is portable. Here’s an excellent MagicJack Review to find out more.
- Vonage – A VOIP service provider that allows you to make calls over your Internet connection through a regular phone. It is similar to the MagicJack but costs more (still relatively inexpensive at $25/month) and requires non portable equipment to be installed.
There are many other alternatives, but this list should wet your chops and help get you started to cell phone free living. Another proud cellphone free friend I know is Jacob from ERE.
Could you go without a cell phone?
Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.