Mobile phones from various yearsMock-up of the "portable phone of the future", from a mid-60s Bell System advertisement, shows a device not too different from today's mobile telephones.SMS message on a Sony Ericsson handset
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Prepaid, No Contract Phones

A mobile phone or cell phone is an electronic telecommunications device with the same basic capability as a conventional fixed-line telephone, but which is also entirely portable and is not required to be connected with a wire to the telephone network. more...

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Most current mobile phones connect instead to the network using a wireless radio wave transmission technology. The mobile phone communicates via a cellular network of base stations, also known as cell sites, which are in turn linked to the conventional telephone network.

In addition to the standard voice function of a telephone, a mobile phone can support many additional services such as SMS for text messaging, packet switching for access to the Internet, and MMS for sending and receiving photos and video.

Some of the world's largest mobile phone manufacturers include Alcatel, Audiovox, Fujitsu, Kyocera (formerly the handset division of Qualcomm), LG, Motorola, NEC, Nokia, Panasonic (Matsushita Electric), Philips, Sagem, Samsung, Sanyo, Sharp, Siemens, SK Teletech, Sony Ericsson, and Toshiba.

There are also specialist communication systems related to, but distinct from mobile phones, such as satellite phones and Professional Mobile Radio. Mobile phones are also distinct from cordless telephones, which generally operate only within a limited range of a specific base station.

Worldwide deployment

Radio phones have a long and varied history that stretches back to the 1950s, with hand-held cellular radio devices being available since 1983. Due to their low establishment costs and rapid deployment, mobile phone networks have since spread rapidly throughout the world, outstripping the growth of fixed telephony.

In most of Europe, wealthier parts of Asia and Latin America, Australia, Canada and the US, mobile phones are now widely used, with the majority of the adult, teenage, and even child population owning one. At present India and China have the largest growth rates of cellular subscribers in the world. The availability of Prepaid or pay as you go services, where the subscriber does not have to commit to a long term contract, has helped fuel this growth.


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See also...
Alltel, Prepaid, No Contract Phones
AT&T Wireless, Prepaid, No Contract Phones
Cingular, Prepaid, No Contract Phones
Nextel, Prepaid, No Contract Phones
Other, Prepaid, No Contract Phones
Sprint PCS, Prepaid, No Contract Phones
T-Mobile, Prepaid, No Contract Phones
TracFone, Prepaid, No Contract Phones
US Cellular, Prepaid, No Contract Phones
Verizon, Prepaid, No Contract Phones
Virgin Mobile, Prepaid, No Contract Phones

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