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A mobile phone (also known as a handphone,[1] wireless phone, cell phone, cellular phone, cellular telephone or cell telephone) is a long-range, electronic device used for mobile voice or data communication over a network of specialized base stations known as cell sites. In addition to the standard voice function of a mobile phone, telephone, current mobile phones may support many additional services, and accessories, such as SMS for text messaging, email, packet switching for access to the Internet, gaming, Bluetooth, infrared, camera with video recorder and MMS for sending and receiving photos and video, MP3 player, radio and GPS. Most current mobile phones connect to a cellular network of base stations (cell sites), which is in turn interconnected to the public switched telephone network (PSTN) (the exception is satellite phones).

A mobile phone proper typically has a telephone keypad, more advanced devices have a separate key for each letter. Some mobile phones have a touchscreen.

Mobiles are designed to work on cellular networks and contain a standard set of services that allow phones of different types and in different countries to communicate with each other.

Before the phone can be used, a subscription to a mobile phone operator (a.k.a. carrier) is required. For phones on GSM networks, the operator will issue a SIM card which contains the unique subscription and authentication parameters for that customer; alternatively, the carrier will put the customer's handset identifier into its subscriber database so that the handset can make calls on the network. Once the SIM card is inserted into the phone, services can be accessed. Many mobile phones support 'auto-roaming', which permits the same phone to be used in multiple countries. For this to work, the operators of both countries must have a roaming agreement.

Mobile phones do not only support voice calls; they can also send and receive data and faxes (if a computer is attached), send short messages (or "text messages"; see SMS), access WAP services, and provide full Internet access using technologies such as GPRS. Modern mobile phones usually have a clock, alarm, and calculator and a few games.

Most current models also have a built-in digital camera (see camera phone), that can have resolutions as high as 8M pixels (Samsung). Sound recording and video recording is often also possible. This gives rise to some concern about privacy, in view of possible voyeurism, for example in swimming pools. For this reason, Saudi Arabia has entirely banned the sale of camera phones; South Korea has ordered manufacturers to ensure that all new handsets emit a beep whenever a picture is taken.

Sending and receiving pictures and videos is possible through MMS, and for short distances with e.g. Bluetooth.

GPS receivers are starting to appear integrated or connected (i.e. using Bluetooth) to cell phones, primarily to aid in dispatching emergency responders and road tow truck services. This feature is generally referred to as E911.

Push to talk, available on some mobile phones, is a feature that allows the user to be heard only while the talk button is held, similar to a walkie-talkie.

There are also many features aimed toward personalisation, such as user defined and downloadable ring tones and logos, and interchangeable covers, which have helped in the uptake by the teenage market. Mobile phone content advertising has become massively popular but has also drawn a great deal of criticism. Usually one can choose between a ring tone, a vibrating alert, or a combination of both.

As a result of all these features packed into a tiny device, mobile phones have recently gained reputations for their poor ergonomics. Their small size, plethora of features and modes, and attempts at stylish design often make them difficult and confusing to use.


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