Using emergency 911 calling as a backdrop, AT&T is stressing the need for families to maintain at least one corded wireline phone in their home. “At home, a landline phone can serve as their reliable ‘home base’ in an emergency, and it can give consumers added peace of mind at an affordable price,” said Joey Schultz, AT&T vice president consumer marketing in a company statement. AT&T is partnering with the National Emergency Number Association (NENA) to raise the awareness of the ‘safety’ of corded wireline phones . They both conducted a survey on the use of 911 and emergency planning among families. “The more choices you have to reach 9-1-1 in an emergency, the better, and a corded landline phone should be one of those options,” says one of survey result’s assertions. They’ve built an entire AT&T E911/ emergency planning PR campaign around the project.
Cynics will point to this campaign as an attempt by AT&T to help shore up their declining wireline counts. Let’s be honest – that’s absolutely one of the objectives behind this exercise. Why shouldn’t it be? Wireline carriers of all sizes are constantly looking for materials to help support/justify the need for wireline service. E911 and emergency planning may be just what the doctor ordered. There are arguments to be made for offering such a service – a low cost (sub $10) wireline service for the home that offers E911 peace-of-mind (maybe you throw in incoming calls only as well). Given the growing appetite for wireless only, which goes beyond just the convenience factor to include perceived cost savings, getting creative with POTS may become mandatory.