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U.S. cell tally: 180 million users and counting

U.S. cell phone subscriber totals, wireless revenue and monthly bills all climb.

NEW ORLEANS--In 2004, U.S. cell phone subscribers topped 180 million, and on average their monthly bills crept upward another 1.5 percent, according to an industry survey of cell phone use in 2004 made public here Monday here at CTIA Wireless 2005, a cell phone trade show.

On average, a U.S. cell phone subscriber's monthly bill was 1.5 percent higher in 2004 than in 2003, an increase from $49.91 a month to about $50.64 a month, according to the survey. A reason for the higher bills is that taxes and fees subscribers pay are also on the rise. In 2003, these additional costs represented about 14 percent of a typical monthly bill; in 2004 it was 17 percent last year, according to the CTIA. The CTIA survey found the U.S. cell phone industry last year added 21.7 million new subscribers. As a result, carriers' revenues also inched up in 2004, cracking the $100 billion mark for the first time.