->''"I hope trans-dimensional calls don't hurt my phone bill...''"
-->-- '''[[Franchise/AceAttorney Phoenix Wright]]''', ''WebAnimation/TurnaboutStorm''

With the advent of the computer age, writers still don't quite know how to work cell phones into a story. Half the time, the mere existence of the cell phone [[TropeBreaker breaks the story entirely]] unless the author invokes some rationale to [[CellPhonesAreUseless lose, break, or disable]] them.

This trope covers the other half, when writers have cell phones function like crazy Film/JamesBond-esque communication devices. Except when the plot demands, they work in places that no cell phone should -- such as in a [[AbsurdlySpaciousSewer sewer]], a [[BeneathTheEarth cave system]], Antarctica (which would only be viable with a very expensive and large satellite phone), or even other worlds and dimensions. They might probably come equipped with [[CrystalClearPicture flawless webcams]] to boot.

A sub-trope of PlotSensitiveItems. Futuristic communications not working have a PhlebotinumBreakdown. Such a cell phone could be a SupernaturalPhone, if it's justified in-universe.

----
!Examples

[[foldercontrol]]

[[folder:Anime & Manga]]
* In the anime series ''VideoGame/GateKeepers 21'', many characters use specially designed cell phones to activate "Gates", the source of the series' [[FunctionalMagic magic-like abilities]].
* ''Anime/TheVisionOfEscaflowne'' has a pager (remember those?) that works on an invisible moon orbiting the Earth. This is debatably justified via YourMindMakesItReal (or that could just be FanWank), but this still resulted in a lot of jokes.
* ''Anime/VoicesOfADistantStar''
** The film is all about a mecha pilot and her boyfriend keeping in touch via SMS messages, which take longer and longer to reach the farther from Earth she travels. She eventually travels outside our solar system, and is still able to send the messages. That's some pretty amazing reception.
** This is even played with in the {{anime}} short as the cell-phone displays the time it will take for the message to reach earth (8 years) and little note indicating she's in super-duper long distance mode. The manga fills in saying that she's really piggybacking on the fleet's communication grid, and thus her non-vital message takes a back seat to official communiques. And at the very end of the story, a newspaper article revels in the discovery of FTL communications. Too little too late for our [[BreakTheCutie heroine]].
* Pretty much everyone in ''Manga/HunterXHunter'', from the 12-year-old protagonists to the gang of bandits that Shalnark's a member of to the [[MixAndMatchCritters Chimera Ant]] commanders, have and use cellphones to communicate with each other over distances. Gon and Killua's beetle-shaped phones, in particular, are described as being able to get service nearly anywhere in the world.
* Played with in ''Anime/FutariWaPrettyCure''. The protective forms that Mipple and Mepple have to take on during their stay on earth resemble girly cellphones, resulting in everyone assuming that Nagisa and Honoka already had cells and didn't need new ones. However, Mipple and Mepple only look like cellphones, and can't be used to communicate.
* ''Manga/AstarotteNoOmocha'': Naoya manages to receive a text message and picture from his sister... after he's been taken to the Youkai Realm. More bars in more places, indeed.
* The HumanAliens of ''Franchise/LyricalNanoha'' have always remarked on the usefulness of earth cell phones in the earlier seasons and have co-opted this technology by the time of ''Manga/MagicalGirlLyricalNanohaVivid''. However, being from a much more advanced {{MagiTek}} society, their cell phones are a lot more powerful, as shown in the first chapter of ''[=ViVid=]'' when Vivio uses a standard Mid-Childa cellphone to instantly send a picture to her family and friends, even though some of them are living in different planets and dimensions.
* Madoka's cell phone in ''Anime/RinneNoLagrange'' somehow has reception while in her mecha AND a few dozen meters deep underwater AND several kilometers off-shore. Not even the leader of the organization operating said mecha knows how that is possible. On the other hand, the battle takes place near a floating island fortress that ''does'' have reception (being the other end of Madoka's phone call).
** On another occasion under similar circumstances, a Vox ''sends a text message to its pilot's phone'' - add in the Voxes being LostTechnology and [[FridgeLogic it is possible that they can operate as radio transceivers]].
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Comics]]
* ''I Can't Believe it's not the [[JusticeLeagueOfAmerica Justice League]]!'' has the Super Buddies sent by BoosterGold to 'the deepest, darkest pits of Hell! (muahahaha!)' and are able to call their headquarters. It's {{lampshaded}} when Max Lord immediately demands to know what service they have.
* Operatives on the ComicBook/GlobalFrequency had ''really'' cool phones that appeared to use their own satellite network and give users access to any electronic resource Aleph could hack into. They also had audio/video capabilities that were terribly advanced when the graphic novels came out, but in late 2009 seem roughly on par with high-end iPhones and the like. This proves that writers don't need to bypass cell phones to create tension; these geeks kick ass, but they still get into trouble the phones can't gimmick them out of.
* In ''ComicBook/{{Planetary}}'', the Drummer receives a cell call while on the Authority's extradimensional spaceship/headquarters. Possibly justified in that the Drummer's superpower is control over information and information transmission.
* ''ComicStrip/DickTracy'''s first and most famous gadget is his Two-Way Wrist Radio, first used in the 1940s. Thus, the detective had a wrist communicator that was incredibly small and powerful for its day and the strip took maximum advantage of it for the heroes to get themselves out of sticky situations.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Fan Works]]
* ''WebAnimation/TurnaboutStorm'': [[Franchise/AceAttorney Phoenix]] recieves a cellphone call from a "concerned friend" in the middle of his investigation. The kicker? He's in the middle of [[WesternAnimation/MyLittlePonyFriendshipIsMagic Equestria]], a complete other world with no cellphones of any kind, let alone cell towers. This freaks him out quite a bit. [[spoiler:It is later explained as [[AppliedPhlebotinum a telepathic message intercepted by his phone and interpreted as an oncoming call]].]]
* ''Series/BuffyTheVampireSlayer'' fanfics often feature the Willow Special, a magically-enhanced cell phone that always has reception (and never runs out of charge), no matter where you are. This can lead to weirdness, such as the ''Series/StargateSG1'' [[http://www.tthfanfic.org/Story-18156/DonSample+Vignettes+in+the+Key+of+Dawn.htm crossover]] where Dawn casually answer her phone while on ''another planet''.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Films -- Animated]]
* Lampshaded in the ''Literature/CuriousGeorge'' movie. Ted's phone go off in the depths of Africa and he comments about the "strong signal" before answering it. Then again, the movie seems to enjoy lampshading and breaking the fourth wall every so often.
* Lampshaded in ''WesternAnimation/JimmyNeutronBoyGenius'' when Jimmy asks for Libby's cellphone with Libby replying that she doubts her phone reception exceeds their solar system (they were on an alien planet several million light years away). Inverted a moment later when Jimmy was just ringing his robot dog in a room not too far away.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Films -- Live Action]]
* In the 2006 remake of ''Film/CasinoRoyale'', Bond is issued a super-awesome [[ProductPlacement Sony]] [[StuckOnBandAidBrand Ericsson]] phone that could make calls from the most isolated places in the world, browse the Internet like it was plugged in with a 1024 kbps data link, with a GPS map that could follow tracker bugs. It follows in the tradition of Bond's obscenely advanced gadgets.
* In the sequel ''Film/QuantumOfSolace'', the phone is able to transmit tons of high-res, multi-angle headshots from the Austrian Opera theatre to London MI:5 almost instantaneously.
* ''Franchise/JurassicPark'':
** The third film has a satellite phone working perfectly quite some time after being eaten by a dino. Early in the film Dr. Ian Malcolm is trying to contact some one with a satellite phone, he can't and several reason are suggest why it won't work ending with "or she could have turned it off"
** ''The Lost World'' novel has sat phones that are explicitly extra-durable and specifically made for the island.
* Most people took issue with how one of the main characters could use his cell phone in the subway station in ''{{Film/Cloverfield}}''. This, however, was a savvy case of TruthInTelevision (and RealityIsUnrealistic), since the MTA is actively wiring subway platforms for cell service, specifically so riders can use their phones during emergencies. Indeed, after much of Manhattan had been smashed into oblivion, the subway station might be the only place where you can still get cellphone service.
* The 2008 film ''JourneyToTheCenterOfTheEarth'' had a cellphone that works at the center of the Earth. Worse yet, not only is it just a joke that's not essential to the plot, but there was a scene in the same movie where a cell phone won't work inside of a normal cave.
* ''Film/TheDarkKnight'':
** [[spoiler:Sonar emitting phones.]]
** A cell phone that works inside a guy. Inside a prison cell. It arms a bomb. Boom. This is justified because phones are often used by terrorists to arm bombs, because they are relatively cheap, and the other phone can simply be thrown away or destroyed once used. The cell was in a police station was in the centre of Gotham, so it is hard to see how it ''wouldn't'' have cell reception, and the human body is nowhere near dense enough to block signals. Finally, all Joker needs to do to stop the phone being damaged by being inside someone is pop it in a plastic bag. Simples.
* The 2008 ''Film/IronMan'' movie:
** The title hero's cell wired through his armor. Maybe the armor is Bluetooth compatible.
** Then there's the video chat on the non-armor-based cell phone in the middle of Afghanistan at the start of the movie.
** In the sequel, the phone gets an upgrade to be able to instantaneously access projection screens. It also appears to be as big and transparent as a piece of plexiglass.
* The Jami Gertz character in ''Film/{{Twister}}'' had a cell phone which was immune to atmospheric conditions, such as ''giant tornadoes''.
* In ''Film/ThreeKings'', one character manages to make a phone call to his wife, on a cell phone, in the middle of Iraq just after the First Gulf War, from ''inside a fortified bunker''.
* In the 2009 film ''Film/{{Moon}}'', Sam is able to make video cell-phone calls from the Moon to Earth [[spoiler:once he gets past the signal jammers, at least]].
* Empire Magazine's review of ''Film/TwoThousandTwelve'' includes this response to Emmerich's "wilfully ignoring science [[RuleOfDrama to keep the plot boiling]]": "For future reference, sudden continental drift probably will affect your cellphone reception." And even if it doesn't, good luck getting through when ''literally the whole world'' is trying to call someone.
* In ''Film/{{Buried}}'', Ryan Reynolds's character manages to make calls to the USA with a mobile phone, while [[BuriedAlive buried in a wooden coffin]] in Iraq. He only loses one or two calls to a bad signal, and the battery manages to last the entirety of the film. Of course, since the action never leaves the coffin, he has to be able to call people, otherwise we'd be treated to an hour and half of him gibbering to himself in a pine box.
* Averted in ''Film/DeadSnow'': the characters are stuck high in the mountains in Norway, and when they DO manage to get reception, the emergency dispatcher thinks they're kidding.
* A few years ago there was talk of the "discovery" of a time-traveller in a Creator/CharlieChaplin film from 1928 who looked to be talking on a cell phone. Apart from the ability (or lack thereof) to travel in time -- there weren't any cell phone towers to make it work.
** It turned out to be an ear trumpet.
* In ''Film/{{Enchanted}}'', Nancy gets cellphone reception in a magical fairytale kingdom. The bizarreness of this is [[LampshadeHanging lampshaded]] right before she [[CuttingTheElectronicLeash destroys the cell phone]].
* A plot point in ''Film/ThorTheDarkWorld'', [[spoiler: Jane recieves a phone call while she and [[TheMightyThor Thor]] are stuck on Svartalfheim. This lets her find a portal back to Earth.]]
** Not to mention in the first movie, Jane had no problem making a phone call despite being in the New Mexican desert and Thor's hammer scrambling electronics.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Literature]]
* Literature/ArtemisFowl once received a text message in the Arctic. Sent from a laptop ''inside the Earth''. One could speculate that the fairies have set up underground Internet and cell phone service providers... but it was Artemis' own laptop, so it probably ran on a plain old human-run ISP. Then again, it was GadgeteerGenius Foaly at the keyboard, though Artemis himself notes that it should have been impossible for him to receive the message.\\
\\
The story adheres more to actual physics when, asked if they can send a reply, Artemis nonchalantly quips, "Certainly. Just give me six months, some specialized equipment and [[AmericanCustomaryMeasurements three miles]] of steel girder." Foaly ''himself'' mentions how hard it was to patch into the human networks.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Live Action TV]]
* During the finale of the 4th season of ''{{Series/Lost}}'' [[spoiler: Keamy is wearing a heart rate monitor set to transmit a signal to detonate C4 back on his ship should he die. When he dies far undrground at the Orchid station, somehow the transmitter is capable of transmitting through dozens of feet of earth and out to sea to trigger the detonator.]]
* In the season two finale of ''Series/TheXFiles'' "Anasazi", Mulder makes a cell phone call, while stranded in the middle of a desert inside a boxcar buried underground.
* ''Series/TwentyFour's'' cell phones can do anything. ''Anything''. This is subverted for humor in a [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JMLH_QyPTYM parody video]] that claimed to be the "lost pilot" of ''24'' from 1994:
-->'''Jack:''' Chloe, can you send the schematic to my cell phone?\\
'''Chloe:''' ... No.
* In ''Series/{{Charmed}}'', cellphones work in the underworld, which is a different dimension. Good reception.
* ''Series/TheMightyBoosh'' had one character receiving a phone call on an expedition somewhere in the arctic. We can safely suspend our belief to include it, considering that at the time the expedition, comprised of two zoo-keepers, was trying to defrost the frozen last words of an explorer killed by Jack Frost.
* Naturally, the communicators in ''Series/StarTrekTheOriginalSeries'' came before cell phones, but they look much like them (having arguably inspired their modern look), and were often subject to both ends of this trope.
* The writers of ''Series/BuffyTheVampireSlayer'' purposefully avoided using cell phones much, as it would ruin too many of the plots. However, for the first episode of season 7, they broke down and let Buffy get herself and Dawn cell phones, which work in the school basement (Dawn at least makes an enthusiastic comment), a place where the laws of reality [[AWizardDidIt don't quite work right]]. It seems Sunnydale [[WordOfGod finally got a tower]] ([[RetCon which nobody complained about before]]). The phones are rarely seen again.
* In the first StoryArc of the second season of ''Series/ReadAllAboutIt'', the characters have a portable communicator created by an eccentric inventor that's bulky and transmits only text, but has an astounding range that can transmit not only over vast distances, but also into different time periods. It's a handy function to have when you've been whisked to 1812 and you are desperate to contact the coach house in 1983.
* The students, crew, and passengers about the ''S.S. Tipton'' in ''[[Series/TheSuiteLifeOfZackAndCody The Suite Life on Deck]]'' all seem to have phones that get reception anywhere in the world (including remote locations in developing countries and at sea), are standard models that aren't at all bulky or complex (as one would expect from a satellite phone with such capabilities), and never incur any sort of roaming charges.
* ''Series/DoctorWho'' takes this trope to absurdly extreme levels: with the help of the Sonic Screwdriver and some alien tech a phone can be upgraded to Universal Roaming, allowing you to make a call from and to anywhere in space ''and time''. Without any special dialling code or anything. Also, people who know the Doctor's number (such as WinstonChurchill and Clara Oswald) can call directly into the TARDIS, which also can be anywhere and anywhen, being a sentient, telepathic time machine... in a phone box. Only interference either from {{Satan}} or the nearby black hole in "The Impossible Planet" was able to put it out of range.
* Zig-zagged in ''Series/TeenWolf''. The cell phones that almost every teen carries have never fallen into any of the usual dead battery or no service cliches. It would be completely implausible, seeing as how they are in the middle of the suburbs. Oftentimes, the phones worked into the plot without breaking it, with missed and interrupted calls taking the places of complete silence.
* Justified in an episode of ''Series/TimeTrax''. Lambert takes a cellphone into an Amazonian swamp area, and his companion-of-the-episode gives him grief because it won't work where they are. He claims it's a satillite phone, but it's really SELMA, his computer-on-a-credit-card.
* ''Series/{{JAG}}'': In "Tiger, Tiger", Harm's cell phone starts ringing, despite being onboard a frigate out in the Mexican Gulf somewhere between the Florida Keys and Cuba, and he had tried to use before to no avail. Moments before it started ringing, Harm told the terrorists holding the ship's crew as hostage something to the effect that "It won't work out here." The caller is Mac, but she plays the role of an ignorant tourist. After the non sequitur call is over, Bud explains it away as an atmospheric distortion, which the terrorist buy for lack a better explanation.
* ''Series/StargateSG1'':
** The episode "Threads" has Carter's cell phone ring in the SGC briefing room. The briefing room is 28 floors underground inside a mountain. (See also RuleOfFunny, given that she thought she had it turned off.)
** In "200", Martin Lloyd complains that his cell reception is terrible in the SGC briefing room. As above, the fact that he gets any signal at all is a miracle. Again, RuleOfFunny may be in play given the mostly parodic nature of the episode.
* Averted in ''Series/{{Journeyman}}'', where Vasser's cell phone fails to work even ten years in the past, as it's incompatible with the cell networks existing at the time. So, he finds his old huge phone from ten years ago and carries it in case he ends up in the past.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Tabletop Games]]
* One of the Relics in the ''TabletopGame/{{Scion}}'' Companion book is the iGjallahar, based on the ancient horn of Nordic myth that summons the glorious dead from Valhalla for Ragnarok. It's a special cell phone that gets a signal anywhere because it transmits to a tower in the Overworld.
* In the ''TabletopGame/D20Modern'' sourcebook ''Urban Arcana'', one of the miscellaneous magic items is the Eldritch Cell Phone. It is explicitely a SupernaturalPhone, needing no battery, and able to call from anywhere. You call someone, and in case he forgot his phone, his battery is dead or he plain doesn't owns a phone, the phone closest to him rings. He is magically assured of your identity, and the communication is perfectly clear (in the sense that if you are speaking clearly, the message will be understandable in any situation), though there is a slight sound distortion.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Video Games]]
* ''Videogame/FinalFantasyVII'':
** There was a PHS (Party Hensei System, a pun on Personal Handiphone System) which allowed you to summon your comrades from anywhere -- in the middle of the desert, on a mountain, in a cave or underneath a giant metal plate. However, it didn't seem so much cellular as SavePoint-ular, and only worked when on one.
** In ''Crisis Core'', Zack has access to a far better phone as a member of SOLDIER which allows him to recieve e-mail and shop online and -- apparently -- ''fuse materia''. And it even continues to work as if the game's four year TimeSkip never happened even though Zack himself was out of commission.
** ''Before Crisis'', the other ''FinalFantasyVII'' prequel which seems to be mired somewhere between NoExportForYou and DevelopmentHell as far as an international release is concerned, lets you use your own cellphone to make materia in the game via snapping pictures. The dominant color determines the element and grade of the materia - for example, a majority yellow picture produces Thunder materia.
* ''Videogame/CityOfHeroes'' cuts both ways. On the one hand, you can get a signal in the sewers, or [[AnotherDimension alternate dimensions]], or ancient Rome (this one's HandWaved as being [[AWizardDidIt something the Midnight Squad set up]]). Inside a mission - even one in an outside area of Paragon City - your phone is useless. And there are plenty of times where you have to go talk to someone whose phone number you have, but nooooo, you have to go see them in person - which is sometimes justified as needing to deliver something to them or the person being paranoid and wanting to meet face to face, sometimes not. Conversely, sometimes a MacGuffin is given to you over your cellphone.
* In ''VideoGame/SuperPaperMario'', the Queen of the Underworld makes a phone call to the King of Mario's-equivalent-to-Heaven. That's not a normal phone whichever way you look at it.
* ''VideoGame/ScarfaceTheWorldIsYours''. Having one of the very first satellite phones ever, stolen from a rival crimelord, is vital to the plot and many of the gameplay mechanics. It always works, from inside any building to remote island dirt roads. Possibly handwaved in that if you're a millionaire drug kingpin, you can afford the best.
* In ''[[VideoGame/PokemonGoldAndSilver Pokemon HeartGold and SoulSilver]]'', the Pokegear's phone can receive or make calls anywhere. Including deep inside Mount Silver, an area so remote that there are only three people in it and the route leading to it, one of whom is the nurse in the Pokemon Center.
* ''Videogame/{{Starcraft}}'': Whatever communications systems are used by Terrans work perfectly, no matter the terrain or distance. The closest it comes to CellPhonesAreUseless is in Brood War, where [[ObviouslyEvil Duran]] claims Admiral Stukov's signal is breaking up, and that he can't see the Zerg swarms supposedly attacking the base, possibly due to a sensor malfunction. He is, of course, lying, as the player sees the Zerg attacking.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Web Comics]]
* ''Webcomic/TheAdventuresOfDrMcNinja'' has featured the doctor getting phone reception while traveling through space. He didn't lose his connection until he started atmospheric re-entry. It's noted in the AltText that the other end of the call was in a submarine.
-->'''AltText:''' All these emails about no sound in space, and NONE about the lack of cell phone reception in a submarine. Tsk.
* ''TheLastDaysOfFoxhound'': [[http://gigaville.com/comic.php?id=443 "I oversee military technology development for the United States. I can get cellphone reception on a submarine."]]
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Western Animation]]
* ''WesternAnimation/KimPossible'':
** The Kimmunicator has never once failed due to signal interference, unless it was deliberately jammed. It works anywhere on Earth or in near-orbit space, even deep underground. At one point, the Kimmunicator sprouts wheels in order to get Kim. According to Wade, it also has its own satellite. She has, however, lost it a few times, and when the writers got sick of that plot, they gave her a compact wrist-mounted version. Justified, though, because Kim has helped so many people and done so many favors for others, that everybody helps boost the signal worldwide for her.
** In the ChristmasEpisode, Drakken's cell phone was able to make calls from the North Pole.
* ''WesternAnimation/PhineasAndFerb'':
** The title characters use Candace's cell phone in prehistoric times and on Mars. Candace lampshades this in "Unfair Science Fair Redux" by asking "How is it we have bars here?" on ''Mars''.
** In "Candace Disconnected", Candace's new cell phone is broken and her mother wouldn't buy her a new one because she's already lost so many of them. The last one bought couldn't be used for anything other than making and receiving calls. Phineas and Ferb then built one that could even be used as a teleporting device.
* [[AvertedTrope Averted]] in an episode of ''WesternAnimation/TeenTitans''. Cyborg tries to make a call while the guys are in another dimension but gets concerned when the call doesn't go through. Robin is quick to point out that they are certainly outside the coverage area.
* Double subverted in ''WesternAnimation/TransformersPrime.'' When the kids are stranded in another dimension, they try using a cell phone to call for help, and while the call reaches the Autobots, there's too much interference for it to be legible. They try to get around this problem by sending a text message, which works.
* ''WesternAnimation/DastardlyAndMuttleyInTheirFlyingMachines''. The candlestick phone Dick Dastardly used to communicate with the General had to be cellular. It appeared in the air sans landline and even as far as Arabia.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Real Life]]
* There are special systems for miners which allow to them make calls from deep mines; however they consist of not only the phone itself, but also a set of "picocells", or routing relays placed all over the mine. Many cities have installed similar devices in metro systems and traffic tunnels to ensure continuous cell phone coverage during their citizens' commutes, and there have even been a few experiments with installing them in airliners.
* Normal-looking phones communicating with a mobile satellite relay (e.g. on a van).
* External mobile phone antennas and modded internal antennas may extend range significantly.
* The state of the art in satellite phone handsets are comparable in size and weight to a regular cellphone from about 1989. Their sound quality is pretty poor but they can make and receive calls from just about anywhere on Earth's surface. Some of them can even be tethered to a laptop and provide internet access, albeit painfully slowly.
[[/folder]]

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