1. Analog phones. Analog is the original cell phone type. What does that mean? On the plus side, the phones themselves are a bit less expensive than the alternatives, and the nation is already equipped for these phones, so you can use them in 95% of the country. Analog is good for travelers. On the negative side, the sound quality is not the sharpest, and the minute rates tend to be higher than the alternative. We recommend that you forget about analog phones and go with a digital or PCS.

  2. Digital phones. These have better signals, and cheaper call rates. Batteries tend to last longer as well (because the phones require less power). The problem is that coverage tends to cut out (or be patchy) once you are not in those aforementioned populated areas; digital-equipped antennae aren't covering the country the way analog-equipped ones are. But they will be soon. In any case, if you are planning to use your cell phone while traveling cross-country, digital phones may give you a problem for this reason.

  3. PCS phones. PCS stands for Personal Communications Service. For all practical purposes, it is effectively the same as digital. You may have heard the term used in connection with Sprint (e.g., Sprint PCS).

SoYouWanna know more? Check out our full-length article SYW buy a cell phone?