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Free Cellular Phones -
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That question may sound foolish, but some find it much better to have only a cell phone. In fact, statistics from the Cellular Telecommunications & Internet Association (CTIA) indicate that 5 percent of Americans have only a cell phone and no landline phone number. In Europe, where cell phones are much more prevalent than in North America, an even larger number of people have only a cell phone.

The obvious choice for that kind of cell phone use is a "nights & weekends unlimited" kind of plan (see my links to cellular plans) that usually include a few minutes of airtime during business hours but unlimited talk time after 6 or 7 PM, depending on plans.

The Pros:
Only one bill.

A unique phone number follows you wherever you are, which makes it easier for people to reach you.

The cell phone plan required to fulfill your needs may cost much more than a landline service, but you will still save over what you would have paid for a combination of a cell phone and a landline.

The Cons:
It makes Internet access more complicated (see below).

You can’t have a phone in each room, as with a traditional line.

You won’t appear in the phone book (though depending on your point of view, it may be a «pro»).

So what do I do?
Choose a cell phone as a unique number if you absolutely can’t live without a cell phone and do not stay at home that much.

What about my Internet access?
That’s the big question. Of course, there is an option for moderate Web users: you may buy a data cable to connect your computer to your cell phone and use it as a modem, but that is not yet as efficient as a landline modem -- speeds range from 9.6 to 14.4 kbps, more in some cases (see my section on wireless data for all your options). If you are on an «unlimited nights and weekends» plan, then using your phone as a modem shouldn’t incur additional charges.

For web-addicts, going to a cell phone as a unique number may be a good time to upgrade to high speed Internet access by cable. If you live in a big city, you may even be a potential subscriber to Ricochet, the rising star of high speed wireless Internet access.