Everybody’s got old cell phones, which sit in closets. Why don’t the wireless carriers let customers cheaply have two or more phones on the same line. That would mean that when a call came in, both phones would ring (and your landlines if you desire) and you could answer in either place. You could make calls from either phone, though not both at the same time.
Right now they offer family plans, which let you have a 2nd “line” on the same account. That doesn’t save much money for the 2nd, though the 3rd and 4th are typically only $10 extra. That’s a whole extra number and account, however.
Letting customers do this should be good for the cell companies. You would be more likely to make a cell call. People would leave cells in their cars, or at other haunts (office, home or even in a coat pocket) for the “just in case I forget my cell” moments. That means more minutes billed.
The only downside is you might see people trying to share, both the very poor, or some couples, or perhaps families wanting to give a single number to a group of kids. While for most people the party line arrangement would be inconvenient, if it becomes a real problem, a number of steps could be taken to avoid it:
- They know where the phones are. Thus don’t allow phone A to make/answer a call a short interval after phone B if they are far apart. If they are 1 hour apart, require an hour’s time.
- To really stop things, require the non-default phones to register by calling a special number. When one phone registers, the others can’t make calls. Put limits on switching the active phone, possibly based on phone location as above.
- Shortly after registering, or making/receiving a call, only the active phone receives calls.
I don’t think these steps are necessary, but if implemented they would make sharing very impractical and thus this service could be at no extra charge, or at worst a nominal charge of a buck or two. It could also be charged for only in months or days it’s actually used.
This is a great service for the customer and should make money for the cell co. So why don’t they?