Can Cellular Phones Be Used for Home Security Instead of the Landline?

By Elizabeth Mott

According to the Pew Research Center, cell phone ownership topped 90 percent among American adults in 2013, making mobile connections the fastest-growing consumer technology in world history. In June 2012, 35.8 percent of American households lacked landline service altogether. If you've decided to pull the plug on your home landline to save money or take advantage of smartphone capabilities, you can add your home security system to the list of options that now can use mobile connections to provide vital services.

Landline Vs. Cell Phone

A security system can monitor your home for intrusions, fire, carbon monoxide and other threats, sound an alarm to scare off burglars or wakes sleeping residents so they can escape danger, and alert your security company to call the police, fire or other authorities. Traditionally, these systems rely on landlines because they carry enough electricity to keep working even when your electric power goes out in a storm or other emergency. Because increasing numbers of households lack landlines altogether, opting only for cell phones or VoIP connections, security companies have developed services that use these alternative communication methods.

Package Options

To opt for a mobile connection as the foundation of your alarm-system service, choose a security company that offers packages based on cell phones. As of January 2014, major security providers like ADT, Protection 1 and Protect America provide cellular options, as well as VoIP-based systems that use your Internet bandwidth and packages that use a conventional landline. In some cases, using a cell phone connection can speed the responsiveness of an alarm system because it can place critical alert calls faster than a landline can dial.

Cellular Advantages

Alarm systems that use your cell phone or smartphone as an alternative to a landline can offer you expanded features that take advantage of mobile technologies. Customers who opt for a security package that includes video monitoring of entrances or interior areas can access these cameras on a mobile device and see who's at the door or check on their children even when they're not at home. Additionally, because mobile service lacks the exterior wiring that brings a landline into your home, it prevents a burglar from cutting your phone line to deactivate your alarm system.

Other Considerations

Keep your phone fully charged and its battery in peak condition if you intend to rely on it as an alarm connection. If you invest in alternative charging devices, you can limit the risk of losing the ability to recharge your phone if a weather emergency cuts off your electric power. Plan on supplying appropriate power backups for any alarm-system hardware that uses a wall-outlet connection, with an uninterruptible power supply, or UPS, to keep devices online.