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Battle for Customers Has More People Buying Cell Phones

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RALEIGH — These days, just about everyone has a cell phone. The new digital phones offer so many features, and they may replace our regular desk and wall phones.

Lots of people are already making the switch.

Jason Jenny uses his cell phone for business and staying in touch with distant family.

"We've pretty much switched the bulk of our long-distance calls to the cell phone. We also use it as a security phone for my wife," said Jenny.

People are switching to the new, smaller digital phones because companies are battling for customers.

"It surely is driving creative rate packages and offering subscribers more minutes as a part of these new rate plans that have come out," said Bill Valdespino of AT&T Wireless Services.

We have used analog cell phones for a long time, but the new digital units offer many more features.

"It gauges how long you've used the phone. You can also look at all the calls you've made, recent calls since the last calling period," said Jenny.

Text messaging is another feature consumers appreciate. "We can receive e-mails via our cell phone or our wireless phones, so those are some of the features, in addition to the clarity of sound," said Valdespino.

Jenny likes getting calls this way, but he is not giving up his old plug-in-the-wall phone just yet.

"We have a fax machine connected to our main line, so it's difficult to move everything to wireless," said Jenny.

You will likely see much more of this in the future as we connect wirelessly and digitally to the world.

Digital wireless phone companies offer monthly plans that cost anywhere from $20 to more than $150. Charges are based on access minutes, features and areas served.

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Tom Lawrence, Reporter
Terry Cantrell, Photographer
John Clark, Web Editor

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