We measured maximum temperature rises on the side of the face after 6 min of continuous mobile phone operation using two models of AMPS analog phones operating in the 835 MHz band and three early model GSM digital phones operating in the 900 MHz band. For the GSM phones the highest recorded temperature rise difference was 2.3 °C and for the AMPS phones it was 4.5 °C, both at locations on the cheek. The higher differential temperature rise between AMPS and GSM may reflect the higher maximum average operating power of AMPS (600 mW) versus GSM900 (250 mW). Additionally, we compared temperature changes at a consistent location on the cheek for an AMPS phone that was inoperative (-0.7 °C), transmitting at full power (+2.6 °C) and in stand-by mode (+2.0 °C). Our results suggest that direct RF heating of the skin only contributes a small part of the temperature rise and that most is due to heat conduction from the handset. © 2006 Wiley-Liss, Inc.