|July 24, 2010||Filled under International Calling, Long Distance, Voice Apps|
You’ve probably observed mobile phone users texting, surfing the Web, playing games and loading the latest apps on their smartphones. But did you realize that the majority of phone users–both in the United States and around the world–still use their phones for talking? And part of the reason is the large number of people who are eliminating land lines. The FCC, for instance, reported a drop of 30 million land lines from 2000-2007.
I know it seems unbelievable, especially when you read about people using their phones for “non-phone” activities like social networking. But the vast majority of the five billion phones on Earth are primarily used for making phone calls. And the trend is continuing. Even teens, who text the most out of all age groups, still spend half their time talking on their cells.
When you think about it, talking on a phone is one of the most natural human activities. Phone calls make it possible for humans to reach friends, relatives and business associates around the world at amazing prices. Mobile carriers, during the past year or so, have created a number of “all you can eat” packages, including calling, texting and data. Sprint, in particular, offers $70 plans combining unlimited calling to any cell phone in the U.S.
People in developing nations and continents, such as Africa and South East Asia, use their low-cost cell phones for commerce and keeping in touch with family and friends, primarily by talking and not messaging. As mobile operators continue building their 3G networks, data services are certain to grow in developing markets. But until then, talking is the main use of phones in much of the world.
“Long distance” calling, once considered expensive, is little mentioned any more as alternatives like VoIP services have grown. If you’d like to read a very interesting article about AT&T or “Ma Bell,” see this well-written Wikipedia article. It covers everything from Alexander Graham Bell’s famous 1915 transcontinental call to the first consumer call made in 1951. We’ve come a long way since then.
If you’re in the mood for some humor, check out the Oatmeal site’s article “Ten Reasons to Avoid Talking on the Phone.” There’s a lot of tongue-and-cheek about the disadvantages of phone calling. But when it comes down to the bottom line, getting in touch with people by calling is still the quickest way.
Phone calls are intrusive. When the phone rings, whether a mobile or land line, most people take the call. And I think the reason why is fear that the call is important. Like BlackBerry users who immediately grab their device for an email when the red light blinks, ringing phones, despite voice mail, entice people to answer. It’s just human. It’s because we love talking. Every day, in fact, over 12,000 people–that’s 3.6 million per month–search Google for “Phone Talk.” What does that tell you?
So next time you visit your local mobile carrier store to upgrade your cell phone, don’t forget to test the quality of sound when making calls. Despite all the bells and whistles of smartphones, talking on the phone is still important to stay in touch.