TELECOM Digest OnLine - Sorted: Re: How to Make The Right Call On Cell Plans

Re: How to Make The Right Call On Cell Plans

John Levine (
3 Nov 2004 21:36:14 -0000

> In the short run, cell phone rates have dropped dramatically. But in
> the longer run, long distance telephone rates and telephone set costs
> have dropped dramatically, too.

> I don't credit competition but rather technology.

It was at least as much due to the Bell breakup. Before that, long
distance was deliberately overpriced to subsidize local service, on
the theory that it was an expensive luxury. (Well, it was back in
1920.) Prices would have dropped a lot anyway, but a big chunk of the
drop is due to the access charges assessed on LD calls. They used to
be on the order of 10 cents/min or more, now in most places they're
just a penny or two.

> Digital phones require more towers than analog. Cell phone companies
> originally advertised digital as being superior quality, but it is
> actually superior for them, not for us users.

Not really. Digital in the 800 MHz AMPS band has about the same range
as analog. But the 1900 MHz band, where everyone uses varieties of of
digital does require smaller cells. Also, and more importantly in
most places, there's a maximum of 100 analog calls per cell, while
digital permits several times that, 3x for TDMA, for example. That
means they don't have to subdivide cells as much to add more call

> Analog phones had bigger batteries. The older analog phones -- either
> in a bag or in a car, had much more powerful transmitters.

Yes, that's true. Bag and car phones could transmit at 3W, digital
top out at .75W unless you get an aftermarket signal booster to put in
line with the antenna.

John R. Levine, IECC, POB 727, Trumansburg NY 14886 +1 607 330 5711, Mayor,,
Member, Provisional board, Coalition Against Unsolicited Commercial E-mail

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