Phone Users Going
Wireless - Cell Phone
Use Exploding
By Steve Rosenbush
A growing number of consumers are forsaking their regular phones for their wireless phones - and a few are giving up land-line life altogether.
No national numbers exist yet, but in Louisiana, 15% of BellSouth wireless customers don't have a regular phone and 65% use their wireless phones at home, up from 56% last year, BellSouth says.
By 2005, wireless phones will account for 20% of worldwide telephone traffic, up from 4% in 1997, say telecom researchers at The Yankee Group.
The typical clients are businesspeople who travel a lot and find it more convenient to use one phone all the time.
Nelson Barreto, owner of Ene Salon in Manhattan, gave up his traditional phone three years ago in favor of a wireless deal that includes free calls on nights and weekends.
"I have more control over who calls me," he says. An unexpected perk: He never gets calls from telemarketers.
Driving The Trend
A new generation of digital wireless services that are cheaper than analog and loaded with features such as voice mail at no extra charge. Monthly prices dropped 20% to 30% in the past year, the Yankee Group's Mark Lowenstein says. High-volume users can now make calls for as low as 10 cents a minute.
AT&T CEO C. Michael Armstrong doubts most people will disconnect their regular service but told USA TODAY that his company, along with Sprint and other wireless carriers, is packaging its wireless phone service as an alternative to traditional phones.
They'll be going after customers like New York University student Jennifer Dagia, 24. She rarely uses her land-line phone. She has an 800-minute-a-month wireless plan with Sprint. "I'm always on the go and I'm always on the phone," she says.

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