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11/15/2007
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This Is Why Your Cell Phone Bill Is So High

People who text message, e-mail, and download files on mobile phones spend $14 a month more than people who don't, says J.D. Power and Associates.

People who text message, e-mail, and download files on mobile phones spend on average $14 more on their monthly wireless services than people who don't, according to a study released on Thursday by J.D. Power and Associates.

Using services like e-mail and text messaging, as well as sending photos and downloading music on a mobile phone is a costly habit. People actively using such services reported an average monthly bill of $77, compared to $63 reported by people who don't actively use the services. Also, people who use their mobile phones for non-voice applications typically spend twice as much as people that use phones mostly for voice, according to the study.

Taking, sending, and receiving photos ranked as the most popular activities among mobile users; 34% of the 18,453 people surveyed by J.D. Power and Associates reported using those features. In 2005, only 19% of mobile users reported using photo applications.

Twenty-six percent of people said they use mobile phones to send and receive text messages, 13% use them for gaming, 11% use Bluetooth capabilities, 9% download ringback tones -- meaning customized music that plays, as opposed to a dial-tone, when people ring a number -- on mobile phones and to send picture messages, 8% use mobile phones to surf the Internet and for instant messaging.

Additionally, J.D. Power and Associates surveyed mobile users to find out how satisfied they are with their mobile phones based on physical design, operating system, features, durability, and battery life.

Sony Ericsson ranked the highest in overall customer satisfaction with a score of 741 on a 1,000-point scale. Customers were particularly pleased with the features and battery life offered on Sony Ericsson phones. Samsung got the second highest score of 728, followed by Motorola with 726 points. Nokia, LG Electronics, and Sanyo, among other phone makers, scored below the industry average of 723, which shows there's a lot of room for improvement when it comes to designing future mobile phones.

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