So you feel that even with the discounts available for cellular phones these days, you're paying more than your friends in the next city? A new survey indicates your suspicions may be right. When it comes to rates, the Washington area ranked as the third most expensive U.S. city of 14 surveyed.

Those findings come from Econ One Research, a California consulting firm that looked at packages available in the cities and calculated what it cost, on average, to buy cell-phone time. Data from the companies' plans for 30, 150 and 300 minutes of talk were worked into the calculations. Rates were taken from the services' Web sites.

Prices may vary because the cost of building and operating a cellular system is different in every city, based on such things as topography and rents for towers.

Demand for the service can also push prices up a bit, Econ One Research says.

Costs for Wireless

City Average monthly costs*

1. Los Angeles $40.79

2. San Diego $39.35

3. Washington $38.69

4. Dallas $37.76

5. San Francisco $37.27

6. Detroit $37.06

7. Philadelphia $36.82

8. Sacramento $36.69

9. Houston $36.32

10. Boston $36.19

11. Chicago $35.88

12. New York $34.49

12. Miami $34.49

14. Atlanta $32.37

*Average price based on plans for 30, 150 and 300 minutes per month.

SOURCE: Econ One