CELL PHONES: Adding On

Ever wonder why your $40 wireless plan actually costs you $50 or more a month? The cell-phone industry likes to claim that rates have fallen 32% since 1998 and that the culprits behind higher bills are government taxes, which average 12% nationwide and run as high as 19.6% in California. But companies have also jacked up an array of their own fees for all sorts of services you might expect to be free. Some examples:

--AT&T WIRELESS, CINGULAR, NEXTEL AND SPRINT PCS have raised directory-assistance fees from less than $1 to anywhere from $1.19 to $1.25 a call

--AT&T WIRELESS AND...

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