analytical Q May-Aug 2000Sept-Dec 2000ContactDiscussion

The Diary
Anne Ku

26 October 2000 Thursday


The managing director of Carphone Warehouse inspired me greatly with his speech about the simple, impartial advice his employees gave. So I turned up at one of his stores hoping that the visit would finally clinch the deal for me.

Deciding on a mobile phone is complicated by the "lock-in" factor and hidden charges. One has to decide on the handset and the tariff. It's not a one-to-one correspondence. The handset dictates whether you can call only in Europe or also in the US. The tariff determines how much you'll spend. One has to work out one's expected usage pattern. Number of calls. Duration of each call. Peak or off-peak calls. Domestic or international calls. Local or mobile calls. Calls to same or different mobile providers. Using the phone inside or outside the country. Extent of network coverage. Voice mail access. Itemised billing. Weight and look of the handset. Functionality of the handset. Cost of the handset varies from zero to several hundred pounds.

Technology is one of those things where supply drives demand. If I carry a mobile phone all the time, then I'd want to use it. However, there have been enough occasions when having a mobile phone would have saved the day. Not having one at times caused tremendous inconvenience for me. Recently I ran into a double whammy of not having the correct phone number and not being able to get to a working public telephone while I was travelling to meet some friends. Had I a mobile phone with all my contacts in the SIM card, I would have been able to warn them that I would be one hour late.

So I walked into a large carphone warehouse store with three sales people. One of them kindly explained why I should get the new T-28 world. It's only 83 grams - one of the lightest around. I could use it in Europe, Asia, and the US. However, if anyone calls me when I'm outside of the UK, I would pay for the international call. It's a twelve month contract. After I've digested these facts and accepted my choice, the salesman informed me that they were regretfully out of stock.

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Mobile phone culture