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Digital Cell Phones Offer More Features for Less Money

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RALEIGH — The demands of work and home require communication wherever we may be. Cellular telephones are an answer. Now, "digital cellular" is sweeping into the market, and as WRAL'sTom Lawrenceexplains, it means good news for you.

Scores of towers carry wireless cell phone signals from four companies in the Triangle. We've had analog service, the first generation of cell phones, for several years. Now digital service is taking hold.

The newest entry to the market isSprint PCS. The company boasts of voice clarity.

"Our digital technology is to wireless what DCS brought to the recording industry," says Sprint's Doug Garland.

The new generation of phones brings new features like paging.

"Right on the screen of the phone, if you're holding a phone, you can get an alphanumeric text message," Garland points out.

Early next year, subscribers will be able to get e-mail too. And the future holds even more promise, tying your laptop to digital service for Internet access.

"Wherever you have a mobile phone signal, you'll be able to go out and access a web page that you really need to function," according to Dataquest's Matthew Hoffman.

One hundred seventy five cities are now served by Sprint PCS national network. You buy the phone then select the type of service you want. One plan offers free roaming and long distance calls.

Hoffman says competition will reduce costs from 25 cents or more a minute to ten cents a minute.

"Consumers will see their monthly bills go down and that's great news for the average guy," says Hoffman.

More features, more clarity and lower cost. That's what digital cellular service offers no matter which company you choose.

AT&T is expected to roll out its national digital service in the Triangle early next year. That'll mean even more choice.

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Tom Lawrence, Reporter
Terry Cantrell, Photographer
Michelle Singer, Web Editor

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