When I first moved out, I didn't have a phone for almost a year. Only a bribe of an internet-capable computer convinced me to get the useless device. I've had a phone now for almost nine years and I can say that 99% of the use of that phone line was to access the net. In my dad's final months, it was used a bit more, but not that much.
Now that I'm moving back to civilization in a little less than a month, I'm going through the whole 'do I need or don't I need a phone' debate since I won't need the line anymore for internet access (one month to high speed!!!). I can't believe I've never seen this issue in frugality-related texts.
In terms of incoming calls, I really don't think I need a phone. My only incoming calls are from my mother, telemarketers, and my volunteer organization. My mother and volunteer organization can reach me at work during the day, or via email. Telemarketers can shove it. As for outgoing calls, ha! Now that my dad is dead, I don't make any, except the odd one to my mother.
That leaves 'emergencies.' There is a pay phone right across the street and I am willing to ease my mother's mind by getting a cheap cellular phone for which I would buy the smallest bundle of minutes available per month (via a card, so no contract) so that she can reach me in the middle of the night if she wants (but let's not give her any ideas, please). There is also Skype, which merits further investigation.
I think my mind is set. I'll get the 30$ a month high speed internet package to start, which is half of what I currently pay for dial up, and then upgrade to high speed plus if I find myself going over my 20GB download limit.
Now, I just need to shop for a cell phone. Hell has officially frozen over.
ETA: the decision has been reached; no phone for me and the 30$ I'll be saving will get added to my savings!
"Life's but a walking shadow, a poor player that struts and frets his hour upon the stage and then is heard no more. It is a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing."