Landline usage drops among students

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After having the cell phone for a few weeks, Guilbeault has appreciated the mobility of a cell phone.

"It's more practical," she said. "I can take it to the library or the (Alumni Memorial) Union and I don't have to check into the apartment as often."

While university apartments provide local phone service, residents of most off-campus houses and apartments must sign up for phone service on their own.

The trend is not just at Marquette, however, as sole cell phone usage is growing across the country.

Of all phones in the United States, nearly 43 percent are cellular. As of 2002, there were over 140 million cell phones in the nation, a number that has quadrupled since 1995. Still, the United States is behind the rest of the world, where just over half of all phones are cellular, according to the International Telecommunication Union.

In conjunction, the number of landline phones has fallen by three percent since 2000, according to the Federal Communication Commission.

This month, Verizon Wireless, a cell phone provider, began marketing cell phones specifically to college students who opt to use their cell phone exclusively. One long distance plan begins at $34.99 per month.

Junior Nicole Wegner paid about $14 a month for local calls on a landline over the summer, in addition to an activation fee. She now uses it for local calls and her cell phone for long distance calls. In hindsight, she would have only used the cell phone during the summer, before she set up a dial-up Internet connection, which requires a landline.

"I regret getting the landline, at least for the summer," she said. "I didn't use it enough for what I was paying."

Instead of using the landline for local calls, as she thought she would do, she found it easier to use her cell phone.

Junior Colleen Clexton also has a landline and Internet service in one package. However, she did not buy long distance service and uses the landline only for local calls.

"I used my cell phone for all my calls until I got the landline," she said. "It's more convenient — I can take it everywhere."

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