TELECOM Digest OnLine - Sorted: Re: America the Worst For Cell Rates and Plans

Re: America the Worst For Cell Rates and Plans

Marcus Didius Falco (
Mon, 31 Jan 2005 22:49:18 -0500

Steve Sobol <> wrote about Re: America the Worst
For Cell Rates and Plans on Date: Sun, 30 Jan 2005 19:17:23 -0800

> earle robinson wrote:

>> If callee pays were the norm for landline phones Bell Telephone would
>> never have reached the 100% market penetration it did.

> What on earth are you talking about -- The callee DOES pay for
> landline calls here. If you have a residential line, you normally get
> flat-rate calling but businesses get metered rates. That's metered per
> call in many places, but here it's per minute. You can get metered
> rates for residential lines too -- if you don't make a ton of calls --
> and pay a lower monthly rate.

Surely you mean "caller pays" is the norm in the US. It's always
"free" to receive calls (be the callee) on a land line.

>> phone books either. The European system employs a distinct area code
>> for cell phones so there is no confusion. Not so in the states. If I
>> call a 305 or a 917 area code I don't know if it is a cell phone or a
>> landline one.

> Ironically, 917 used to be mobile/pager numbers only. I don't recall
> why that was changed.

> But I can tell you that if we were to adopt the system you speak of,
> we'd probably have run out of area codes long ago and had to add a
> digit to new phone numbers like the UK did.

In particular, the FCC required that cell phones be accommodated
within the standard area codes so that they would not be
"disadvantaged" or subjected to "discrimination." Then, when the
splits and overlays started to be common, the FCC directed that
cellular, faxes, and other special numbers NOT be segregated into the
new area codes. Thus, the problem of its being impossible to identify
cell phones is of the FCC's making, in an effort to encourage cellular
use by treating them "just like land lines."

I do not recall the details of whether and why the FCC promoted
"called party pays" for calls to cell phones. It was probably in part
a natural consequence of the inability for the caller to distinguish
the cost of the call. Possibly, it was in part an effort to promote
calling cell phones as being "just like land lines." The former reason
has an analog in the required message informing people that they have
called a "calling party pays" number, such as a 900 number or a sex

The latter, of course, is the reason few of us give out our cell phone
numbers very freely. I have started to do so for a few people, only
after several years experience showing that I rarely use more than 1/3
my basic allowance of "anytime" minutes, and never more than 2/3 (I
have the smallest allowance my carrier sold at the time I acquired the

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