CAN YOU HEAR ME NOW?

By Published on .

When cell phones required a carrying case and shoulder strap, few people used them. Now that even tight-jeans-wearing rock stars can conceal a mobile phone in their back pocket, it seems everybody has to have one. In fact, according to a report released in March by New York City-based Scarborough Research, 62 percent of Americans own a cell phone, up from 55 percent in 2000. But those tiny devices don't come cheap. The study found that 41 percent of cell phone owners pay more than $50 a month for their service plan, and 23 percent pay more than $75. Cell phone owners who commute an hour or more each day are 66 percent more likely to have a cell phone bill of $150 or higher. We just hope they use a hands-free attachment. Remember: Safety first.

CELLS OF CONNECTIVITY

Major Southern metros rank tops on the list of markets with high cell phone penetration, while residents of smaller cities in the Northeast are among the least likely to own a mobile phone.

METRO MARKET* PERCENT OF RESIDENTS WITH CELL PHONES
TOP METROS
Houston, TX 74%
Atlanta, GA 73%
Honolulu, HI 70%
Miami-Ft. Lauderdale, FL 69%
Dallas-Ft. Worth, TX 69%
Detroit, MI 68%
Baltimore, MD 68%
Chicago, IL 67%
BOTTOM METROS
Syracuse, NY 51%
Grand Rapids, MI 51%
Albany, NY 49%
Roanoke, VA 49%
Spokane, WA 49%
Wilkes-Barre, PA 46%
Buffalo, NY 45%
Charleston, WV 39%
*Market represents DMA (designated market area)
Source: Scarborough Research, 2001
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