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Basic Trope: Owning a cell phone (or a certain kind of cell phone) is a symbol of wealth and status.

  • Straight: Bob, the CEO of a Fiction 500 company, is the only character with a cell phone.
  • Exaggerated:
    • Anyone below a certain income bracket is forbidden by law from owning a cell phone.
    • Bob is the only one who has any kind of telephone.
  • Downplayed: Bob is the only character who owns a smartphone.
  • Justified:
    • The story is set in a time or place where only a relative few (usually wealthy, high-ranking businesspeople) owned cell phones.
    • Advertisement:
    • Bob is a Fish out of Temporal Water, and people think his unfamiliar cell phone/pager/etc. mark him as a god.
    • The fascist government of the setting forbids cellphones to anyone who isn't a business leader, important government official, or anyone else who isn't a loyal, high ranking Party member; considering them both a privelege and an easy way of spreading dissedency.
  • Inverted: Bob, the CEO of a Fiction 500 company, is the only character who doesn't have a cell phone.
  • Subverted:
    • Bob has a pager, but not a cell phone.
    • Bob's wife Alice also has a cell phone.
    • Bob has a cell phone for work, but not for personal use.
    • Bob isn't rich.
    • Lots of other characters have phones.
    • Faye mass-produces cell phones, and within two weeks just about everyone, rich and poor, has one. Bob's isn't so special anymore.
  • Double Subverted:
    • No one else has one, and Bob only has one because he's a business owner.
    • Advertisement:
    • It was expensive; she only has it because she's Bob's Trophy Wife. No one else besides Alice and Bob have phones.
    • He's always on the phone in public.
    • His rich dad got him a phone.
    • Bob is the only one who has a smartphone, or a particular kind of smartphone.
  • Parodied: Bob gets In Da Club just by holding a cell phone up to his ear. Charles, on the other hand, is rejected by the bouncer.
  • Zig Zagged: Some characters own cell phones, others do not. Sometimes the phone-owning characters are shown to be rich, other times not.
  • Averted:
    • Bob doesn't have a cell phone.
    • Bob isn't rich or powerful.
    • Cell phones don't exist in this setting.
  • Enforced: The story takes place late in The '80s or early in The '90s, when only an elite few having cell phones was Truth in Television, or in a developing country where that was or is true.
  • Advertisement:
  • Lampshaded: ???
  • Invoked: Bob finds that now that he's rich and powerful, he can afford new tech-toys few others can.
  • Exploited: Bob borrows a cell phone to make it seem like he's wealthier than he actually is, when he moves to a wealthy community.
  • Defied: No one thinks Bob is special for owning a cell phone.
  • Discussed: ???
  • Conversed: ???
  • Deconstructed: Bob is mugged at gunpoint specifically because the cell phone he was chatting on marked him as a good target.

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