Cell Phone Use Exploding

Derby Perez leaves the house for work as a real estate agent everyday clutching his lifeline: a cell phone that has become his sole source of communication.

"I rely on my cell phone 100 percent, all the time," says Perez. "I never use my land line."

Parez is part of new trend known as cutting the cord, trading traditional hard-wired phone service for a portable cell phone, reports CBS News Correspondent Elizabeth Kaladin.

If the trend continues analysts predict that more and more Americans will start hanging up on an old habit. The number of cell phones in the U.S. is expected to double, to 113 million, in the next five years.

"Customers who have cut the cord are telling us for them and their individual needs they are saving a lot of money not only on long distance, but on the regular phone side as well," says Steve Bugg of Sprint PCS Services.

Perez cut the cord for two reasons. He wants to be accessible to his clients no matter where he is, and says his income has gone up 25 percent since he made the switch. He also says he saves money on regular phone service charges and long distance.

But it's not always cheaper for everyone. "Certainly they need to do their research and their education before they decide to cut the cord," says Bugg.

Communications analysts looking into the future say cheaper and expanded cell phone service is part of a much bigger picture. They predict the cell phone will soon become as indispensable to everyday life as the computer. For Derby Perez, it already is.

©1999 CBS Worldwide Corp. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed