Those Ubiquitous Phones

No wonder you can’t walk around without being stepped on by someone who’s busy hollering into a cell phone. A Scarborough Research study finds 62 percent of U.S. adults now own one. That figure has risen sharply during the past two years, which saw a 29 percent increase in ownership. But some metro areas have been laggards. The ownership rates are significantly below the national average in Charleston, W. Va. (39 percent), Buffalo, N.Y. (45 percent), Wilkes-Barre, Pa. (46 percent) and Albany, N.Y., and Roanoke, Va., (49 percent each). At the high-ownership end of the spectrum: Houston (74 percent), Atlanta (73 percent), Honolulu (70 percent), Miami and Dallas (69 percent each). What do consumers pay to have this service? For 41 percent of users, the monthly bill exceeds $50, while 23 percent of cell-phone owners shell out more than $75 per month.