Analog cellular phones work off of the Advanced Mobile Phone Service, otherwise known as AMPS, system. This technology is the oldest, and therefore the most established, wireless system in the United States, covering about 95 percent of the country. It works by transmitting sound waves over radio waves, just like an FM radio dial. AMPS works at a frequency band of 800 MHz which was designed specifically for wireless phones. Since it's such an established network, you can use your analog phone virtually anywhere in the United States. If you live in a rural area, it might still be your only option. Analog phones include such standard features as speed dialing, different ring tones, caller ID, call waiting, call forwarding, and three-way calling. However, you're generally required to pay monthly fees for any features over and above your basic service plan. Voice quality is good and the initial cost for an analog phone is usually much less than other types of wireless phones. Disadvantages include a high occurrence of static and dropped calls, though external antennas can reduce or eliminate these problems in most cases. Furthermore, airtime rates are generally higher than digital competitors, and analog phones require more power, so the batteries don't last as long as they might with other wireless phones. In addition, calls can be intercepted by police scanners and phone numbers can be easily cloned.
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