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In places that have it, how does "calling party pays" work? How is a person billed who calls a cellphone, not knowing if the person is picking up locally, or maybe halfway around the country? Is it based on local rates, or how far away the cellphone answerer is? Would the calling party be billed differently if he had ATT, vs Spring, or someone else, or had a cellphone account himself? Sounds confusing, and may be the reason it wasn't adopted here in the first place - just guessing. I assume it was decided that cellphone owners should be billed, to get the technology adopted as soon as possible. How was it that other countries have it the opposite?

The 'Calling Party Pays' applies to the local wireless access charge. (i.e. a call in the 'home' area) All additional 'convenience' charge, such as roaming, would be charged to the cellphone account. A good comparison would be a landline telephone which has been forwarded. The calling party would pay the toll to reach your home, but the forwarding would be paid by you on your phone bill. (international or domestic)

It is simpler for the calling party in many other countries because cellphones have distinct prefixes. (as opposed to here in the USA, where they overlaid cellphone numbers with landline phone numbers in many/most places.)
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