There are a couple of ways these things are designed. There are the p2p ones you're talking about and then there are some that use a licensed frequency to communicate directly with towers. I'd find out which strategy your municipality went with before worrying.
Novels are also very guilty of this. They're just freaking words, not even crappy pictures! Quite a ripoff. I want to SEE the tits, not read about them.
(Yeah, yeah, I should go to the magazine rack. Not the point, people.)