There is a revolution occurring today in telecommunications that is changing our world as we have known it as well as an American tradition.
The wireless revolution -- sparked by cellular phones -- is sweeping across west central Minnesota as elsewhere in America. For many, cell phones are becoming the sole provider of telecommunications.
The cell phone is actually replacing land lines -- or traditional phones -- especially among young professionals and recent graduates. Industry experts say 7.5 million Americans have replaced their traditional land lines and relied solely upon their cellular phone.
According to the International Tele-communications Union, cellular phones now comprise about 43 percent of all U.S. phones, up from 37 percent in 2000.
Many young adults are moving often and dislike switching phone numbers, let alone paying installation fees each time they move. Often individuals dislike paying for both land and cellular phones with the same service. Another telecommunication change linked to the cellular phone revolution will likely be the disappearance of the majority of public pay telephones.
Yes, public pay phones are becoming obsolete due to the increasing number of cellular phone users. The number of pay phones has dropped to about 1.8 million, down from a peak of 2.6 million in the mid-1990s.
Pay phones will not become extinct. Some public phones will remain in such busy places as airports and other high-use areas. The overwhelming factor certainly will be the profitability of each pay phone for its owners.
One thing is certain -- cellular phones are changing the way individuals in west central Minnesota and around America communicate and meet their telecommunications needs.
-- West Central Tribune of Willmar
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