Cell Hell

A San Francisco company called Telephia (which, oddly, was my stripper name in the late '70s) says it's the world leader in providing "performance measurement information" to the mobile communications business; I believe 'em, only because I don't know why you'd want to make that up. Anyway, Telephia today

released a survey

comparing how folks in 10 cities used their cell phones in the first quarter of this year versus the first quarter of 2005. No surprise here: Dallasites used their phones to make voice calls (which means this doesn't include e-mail or Web use) an average of 824 minutes during the first three months of 2006, as opposed to 738 minutes during that same time frame in 2005--for an increase of 13 percent. All ya gotta do is look at the schmuck in the car next to you to know this stat's a no-brainer; that dude, who may or may not be me, will not shut up. But there was one surprising stat on the survey: New Orleans residents cell-phone use is

way

up, from 761 minutes to 1,072--a whopping 41 percent. Then again, maybe it's not so stunning at all: Says Tamara Gaffney of Telephia, not only does it "reflect the ongoing disruption that many residents of these cities still face, but also suggests a more lasting change in consumer usage patterns born out of the hurricane experience." And then she sai...wait, gotta go. Cell phone's ringing.

--Robert Wilonsky

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