Technology has advanced the mobile phone industry to the point where the phone is a mere commodity for vendors, meaning that's not where they make the real money. It's in the service plans, which require 2 year commitments usually, where companies like Sprint, Nextel (now Sprint Nextel), ATT (now Cingular), Cingular, Verizon, and T-Mobile make the revenues that enable the cycle of technology innovation and marketing to continue.
While the downsides of cell phones have focused primarily on the annoyance of public conversations and the small possibility of brain damage due to cellular coverage near the ear, these pale in comparison to the benefits derived from cellular technology. For those who have had cell phones most of their lives (think anyone under 25), it's hard to imagine life before cell phones. Writing down numbers in a paper directory, having change on hand (first a nickel, then a dime, then two dimes), knowing how to make collect calls, and finding pay phones in new cities were frequent logistic challenges. Not to mention the inconvenience of not being able to get access to those you need at any time. At this point, corporate employees, sales professionals, parents, young adults, and anyone in industries where communication among many is critical could hardly imagine life without the benefits of mobile phones.
As technology matures, ringtones, cameras, GPS features, music, and multiple other features have been added to the hardware. And the software on phones will progress to include easier web access, advertisements, news downloads, and easier chat and email features - becoming the only piece of technology most use.
Most folks who travel in their RV either have an existing cell phone or are interested in finding a carrier that is reasonably priced and has good coverage thru out the United States. A number of travelers also want the flexibility of also having web access.
This topic comes up quite frequently on the Forum and as one might expect, responses are numerous.
If you are interested in learning how the Cell Phone system works and a few other things then click on the Cell Phones 101 Page.
If you want to view the various phones available and what they do, then visit Cell Phone Requirements.
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Submitted by Mike Sundberg - 3/01/06
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