Imagine walking by a McDonald's and your cell phone beeps. On the screen is a "Buy one get one Free" coupon for a Big Mac. Or imagine you're driving past a Best Buy and your phone beeps to remind you that all video games are now 15% off.

Aggressive plans are being laid to get highly targeted ads onto your cell phone, using technology and partnerships that would make George Orwell roll in his grave.

The seminal event that opened the door to the possibility of this new advertising venue happened when the Federal Communications Commission ruled in 1996 that wireless carriers must assist 911 dispatchers in locating the origin of a cell phone call. Since then there has been considerable speculation about what would happen if that information were also provided to advertisers.

The gut response for many cell phone users will be cries of violating personal space, accusations of Big Brother, lawsuits involving privacy rights, etc., so I'm jumping in right now with a contrary view: Ads are not a bad thing.

The reason you get free television programming is because of advertising. The reason you can listen to your radio or do a Google search for free is also due to advertisers. In other words, you don't get a bill from ABC each month, or from 108.9 FM, and if you did you would be furious. You have been conditioned to view television and radio as free, as an entitlement. But it's not free; it's paid for by advertisers.

So what if you could receive unlimited internet access on your cell phone for free, in exchange for some measure of compromise with advertisers? Is that really any different? Or how about subscribing online to your favorite magazines, complete and unabridged, for free, in exchange for some advertising?

Wireless carriers know a great deal about their customers, including their location. For now, however, they are carefully guarding this information, adopting a wait and see approach for fear of upsetting their core customer base and causing a mass exodus.

Advertisers realize that cell phones offer the first opportunity to target their message to someone who is definitely on the other end.

While I would certainly be annoyed at a constant stream of randomized ad blasts on my cell phone, I do not feel the same way about viewing an ad while a page loads on my phone's display, especially if allowing those ads reduced the costs of my applications, data access, etc.

The wireless industry is growing so fast that legislation is trying to keep up, as lawmakers are faced with new legal issues that have no precedent.

However it all shakes out in the months to come, consumers should always have the ability to opt-out. But for those willing to accept some advertising on their phones, they should also enjoy receiving services and applications for free or at greatly reduced costs.

So if my phone beeps the next time I walk by a Starbucks and offers me a $1.50 off a latte, I just may stop in.

As always, I invite your comments!