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Friday, 7 April, 2000, 14:45 GMT 15:45 UK
Could you ditch your mobile?

Mobile phones have never-ending bad press. First we were told they fry your brain, so people bought hands-free kits. Now research tells us the headsets don't protect us at all - in fact the Consumers Association say it increases the amount of radiation passed on to users.

Yet you can't move for mobile phone users, shops, advert hoardings or masts. You might think they were what kept society going.

The mobile phone companies certainly think so - they are falling over themselves to buy the UK's next generation of licences and have so far bid more than £10bn - twice as much as expected.

But are mobiles really that useful to us? Are the airwaves full of people making superfluous contact just to while away the time? Do the stories of radiation scare you? Will you be throwing away your mobile phone and hands-free kit? HAVE YOUR SAY Click here for your thoughts on life without the mobile

The public's verdict - as voted by travellers at London's Euston Station.

The software salesman

Danny Mallinson, a computer software sales manager from Basingstoke, Hampshire.

Danny Mallinson: Ten years of business calls

What was that call?
"It was just a business call. I've just been calling someone's answerphone to check whether they were ready to fly to a meeting."

Was it urgent?
"It was quite useful."

What would you have done before you had your mobile?
"I can't really remember life before mobiles - I've had one for about 10 years now. For people like me who travel a lot, they're invaluable."

The PR manager

Gloria Satin, a PR manager from London, was seeing off her mother, who had been visiting for the weekend.

Gloria: Next to the payphones

What was that call?
"I was calling a taxi firm to arrange for them to pick my mother up from the station."

Was it urgent?
"Oh yes. Well, kind of. It's quite important she gets picked up."

What would you have done before you had your mobile?
"I'd have used the payphone right there, next to me."

The schoolgirl

Lizzie Smith, 14, from Congleton, Cheshire, was returning home with her parents after a weekend break.

Lizzie: "Part of her hand"

What was that call?
"I was just checking to see if I had any messages on voicemail. There weren't any."

Was it urgent?
"No, not really. I just thought I might as well."

Would you be without your mobile?
Lizzie: "No".

Lizzie's parents: "No she definitely wouldn't. It's practically part of her hand."

The apprentice

Lee Hellewell, 18, from Rochester, Kent, was waiting for a train to Coventry for an apprentice electricians' course.

Lee: Sent to Coventry, but only literally

What was that call?
"It was actually to the phone company, to get my vouchers topped up."

Was it urgent?
"Yes. I use my mobile all the time. Not for business, though! I use it totally for pleasure, phoning mates and so on."

What would you have done before you had your mobile?
"I don't know. I can't imagine not having it.

"I know five people here waiting for the same train and they've all been on their mobiles."

The student

Samuel Palmer, 20, a social policy and economics student from London, was about to visit his mother in Watford.

Samuel: "Hello, Mum!"

What was that call?
"I phoned my mother. She's going to pick me up at Watford Junction in about half an hour."

Was it urgent?
"Probably not. It was useful though."

What would you have done before you had your mobile?
"I'd still have made the call, but I'd have had to mess about with payphones, and finding the right money, and that kind of thing.

Would you do without it?
"No. I can't imagine life without it.

"I've had it for about 18 months, and before that I had a pager - although that was rather irritating, as people would leave you a message and then you'd have to mess about trying to call them back.

"But I think mobiles are like cars - you wouldn't want to be without your own but everyone else's are really annoying."


Your reaction

Mobile phones are expensive, annoying and bad for your health. Sometimes it's good to be out of touch.
Barry Tregear, England

I have had two mobile phones in the last few years and found that after the initial novelty I barely used them. I am happier (and financially better off) without one. I have answer phones both at home and work. As far as I am concerned if I am out I am out. If I am with one friend I doubt that they appreciate me spending the time on the phone to another.
Ellen, London



She cannot have stopped loudly yakking on her mobile phone for more than a total of 10 minutes.

Anon, UK
On Tuesday I arrived in plenty of time, for once, to catch my usual train home and sat down in a mostly empty carriage pleased at the prospect of a little peace and quiet to enjoy my newspaper and books. Shortly, a woman arrived and chose to sit next to me although there were a number of other seats still available.
For the next 1 hour 15 minutes, she cannot have stopped loudly yakking on her mobile phone for more than a total of 10 minutes, making several non-urgent calls between the same 3 people (believe me I didn't WANT to listen). This was without so much as a single "Do you mind if I use my phone?".
That coupled with the noisy irritating tune when these people returned her call distracted me from absorbing myself in my quiet non-disruptive activity for the entire journey and meant that I arrived at my destination bad-tempered and irritable. I have no objection to phones for emergency use, but I object strongly when they cause interference in someone else's business.
Anon, UK

I think mobile phones are a good invention, in that when you're in a state of emergency and no where near a payphone, you've got one on you that can save your life (or someone else's life), or save you from walking to a phone on a wet night on the motorway etc. What I don't like seeing is little kids who have just turned 12 walking around, messing with mobiles, I don't really think they need mobiles. Business people who are constantly on the run can do with a mobile. I on the other hand have never had a mobile and don't intend to have one in the future too.
RI, UK



The cellular phone is here to stay - long may it reign.

Zafras, UK
Over the years my mobile has got me out of more than one scrape or another. In a few years time the public call box will be a thing of the past. I can't wait for the next generation of mobiles. If people are so worried about the affects on their health they should stop drinking, stop driving, eat less fatty foods and keep away from their televisions and radios, after all don't they omit lots and lots of microwave radiation. P.S. Stop using microwave ovens, most of them leak. The cellular phone is here to stay - long may it reign.
Zafras, UK

Instant gratification, instant service, you become so used to it's "convenience" you grow to entirely depend on it. Sounds like addiction to me. My employer wanted me to get one, I refused, for business it is more of a leash around your neck than a convenience.
Stephen Kenney, USA

I bought my mobile phone ten years ago, as a fashion accessory (I'm ashamed to admit). But I couldn't live without it now. I use as a means of contacting my girlfriend, who is abroad (via the internet). I use it as an alternative to the "house phone".
I look forward to the new generation of phones...and so should you!
Darren Letford, England

I used to have a mobile phone, but got rid of it. I got fed up with the first question asked being "Where are you?" It makes me laugh when I'm on the train and someone's phone rings and the first thing they say is "I'm on the train".
It's great being un-reachable now. I no longer have inane conversations saying what time I'll be somewhere. I have an answer-phone at home and that does me fine.
Jason, UK



I think it's generally great to hear conversation on the tube, whether it is taking place over the phone or with a fellow passenger.

Deborah, UK
Well said, John, London. I think what is interesting about some of these comments is that it shows not how much we rely on mobiles, but rather how intolerant of other people a lot of individuals are. I know that travelling on a packed commuter train (which I do every day) doesn't exactly make you feel like jumping for joy, but I think being irritated by someone telling a loved one that they will arrive home in time for dinner is a bit sad.
Although, yes, some phone users seem to lack a few social skills. I think it's generally great to hear conversation on the tube, whether it is taking place over the phone or with a fellow passenger, whatever the topic. Sometimes people glare at me if I so much as have a laugh with a friend who is sitting beside me on the tube. Chill out! Could I ditch my mobile? No. Technology and modern life are exciting. We shouldn't live in the past.
Deborah, UK

I am currently living in Austria where the mobile phone craze has started. I went to the opera the other night to watch 'Madame Butterfly' and just as she was about to commit suicide, with dagger poised, raised above her head, a mobile phone started to ring. Get a life!
Finn Griffin-Jorgensen, England

Can anyone explain how some of the stupid users making inane calls during peak periods can possibly afford rates of around 30 pence per minute?
Paul Boswell, UK



The fact that I'm not constantly reachable makes me an oddball in Finnish society.

Pirjo Tervakoski, Finland
I carry my phone with me, but keep it switched off. I just use it in urgent situations, and few people have my number. The fact that I'm not constantly reachable makes me an oddball in Finnish society. But I guess in the future one of the greatest luxuries is peace, quiet, privacy and the freedom to retreat.
Mobile phones are not a fetish; they are just like any other technological invention: You have to use them moderately, and wisely, and they'll be harmless and useful.
Pirjo Tervakoski, Finland

Fierce competition has made the price of mobile phones lower. But I don't think approval of abusing mobile phone due to the experience monthly fees. Thus, I think mobile phone should mainly help businessmen to communicate and earn money, not for people to entertain.
SamTang, China



I look forward to our brave new technological world, which will give the pseudo middle classes more pointless toys to spend their money on.

John Howes, UK
While I would agree that the mobile has become a useful tool for people who do business on the move, it is a considerable target of hatred when used by the majority for loud banal conversations. It seems that most of the users are still under the misguided impression that Mobile ownership implies some kind of elite cache. I look forward to our brave new technological world, which will give the pseudo middle classes more pointless toys to spend their money on.
John Howes, UK

The mobile phone is for the life of a person who needs business and family contacts. Without the mobile phone life would not be as productive to the day. Each day the contact with communication for accomplishment is for instant conversation. I am very aware of the importance of my mobile, and grateful to have one.
Catharine Hannover, England

Most if not all phones have a ring function which starts off quiet and increases in volume; some also have a "discreet" function, meaning it only bleeps once. Measures such as these promote tolerance towards others who have to listen to noisy rings. And if I do have to shout, I say I'll call back later when I can hear the other person properly. Mobiles have recently become so important to life in general, and their importance can only increase, so people will have to learn how to use them properly.
PG, UK

I wouldn't mind so much if the manufacturers would dispense with the idiotic dial tones. Personally speaking they are a godsend and I feel sorry for those people who long for the good old days - what ever they are.
Duncan, UK

Its funny isn't it - I find my own mobile hugely convenient from time to time (car broken down, last minute change of plans etc) and yet I find other people's use mildly annoying. I think that's because some users shout into the phone. Maybe some feedback to the earpiece of the transmission would help them to speak at a normal volume.
Martin, UK

Don't have one, don't need one, don't intend to get one.
Stephen Williams, England

For the first time in a while my car broke down on the M4 the other day. It was raining, so I was glad to be able to use my mobile to ring the AA instead of walking to an emergency phone. Unfortunately, I didn't know exactly where I was, so I ended up walking to the phone anyway so that I could read the ID number off of it.
Ian Gibbs, England



Mobile phones destroy conversation.

Peter Moore, UK
Mobile phones destroy conversation. How many times have you seen a "group of friends" sitting around talking to other people on their phones. Soon you'll have to be able to eat and breed electronically or the race will die out. Catch a grip people!
Peter Moore, UK

I have a pay-as-you-go and will not be ditching it. I only use it in emergencies, i.e. breakdowns etc and have used less than £20 in 1 year for other urgent calls.
Linda Hackett, United Kingdom

I've had a mobile now for 9 months and have found it invaluable for those unpredictable situations in which you need help!
M Crawley, United Kingdom

In Tanzania the public telephone company is extremely inefficient and corrupt. For a variety of reasons the waiting for a fixed line telephone in the capital is at least a month. In other parts of the country it is difficult if not impossible to have a telephone installed. Therefore mobiles have made it possible for thousands who were previously unable to do so, to communicate. In some developing countries mobile telephones are a necessity and not a luxury.
Simbo Ntiro, Tanzania

Especially disgusting are the teenagers who identify their personality with mobile telephones. Actually the exhibitionism of mobile-trotters is becoming pathetic.
Tridiv, India/Germany



The day that I can ditch my landline 'phone, at work and home, and have one or two lines coming through my cell 'phone, can't come quick enough!

Mark M. Newdick, USA/UK
The day that I can ditch my landline 'phone, at work and home, and have one or two lines coming through my cell 'phone, can't come quick enough! The convenience of a digital PCS so out weighs the conventional system that it's amazing we're not climbing all over ourselves to get there! In part, here in the US at least, this is due to the still outrageous call charges and non-standardised service providers ... finding oneself in East Bumble-Fudge, Iowa confronted with a local service provider that will only connect one's call for an obscene credit card charge, is ludicrous. If ever Congress needed to act on something that is so slowing down this communication revolution, this is a prime example.
Mark M. Newdick, USA/UK

I recently travelled from Philadelphia to New York City by train. I was sat next to a young woman for most of the journey. She spent a complete hour talking to various people through her mobile phone. I know her name, where she lives, the company she works for, her job, her boyfriend's name, her favourite Italian restaurant, her favourite Californian wine and the names of most of her immediate colleagues. I discovered that she is to travel to Europe and have a good idea of her itinerary. Had I been a competitor, I could well have pre-empted her marketing pitches. All this was bad enough, but the worst feature was the way in which everyone in the carriage looked at me in the same way that people looked with relief and pity on the hapless individual that was sat next to Jasper Carrot's fictitious "nutter on the bus".
Chris Klein, UK

Just this morning, my male boss came back into the office after visiting the toilet and told me that there was a bloke also visiting the toilet, who was holding his mobile with his free hand!
Amanda, England

Yesterday, just before midnight on the last train from Victoria back to South London, myself and other weary passengers were aptly demonstrated the usefulness of mobiles by a fellow commuter bellowing "...a Chicken Chow Mein...CHICKEN...CHOW...MEIN! Yes...and a banana fritter...A FRITTER! I'm ON THE TRAIN.... there in 10 minutes.... Hello? HELLO!" The boundaries of mobile comms moves yet again.
Ashley W, England, UK

As a parent of a young child it's vital to be contactable - but you don't need to use it non-stop. As a tube user, on a train with a hundred school kids its abominable. Working in the city with all those people shouting to themselves it's almost too much for sanity. I like the idea of 'phone users carriages' though.
Simon B, London, UK

I went to one of the Proms last year. The conductor walked on stage to warm applause, bowed, turned to the orchestra and raised his baton. An expectant hush fell over the Albert Hall. Then someone's mobile phone went off. How about compulsory IQ tests for prospective purchasers of these vulgar devices?
Jim, England

I have a mobile phone, and still cherish it from the day I broke down in my car at 11.30pm at night in a strange town. Thankfully I called the RAC from the safety of my car, rather than having to walk for miles trying to find a phone. Could I live without my phone - easily, but I wouldn't feel so safe going out on my own.
Jo, UK

To Dave Miller, USA:
"Following a car on the highway (speed limit 70mph) doing 35mph, driver had his mobile glued to his head. (Right-hand turn signal was on for 12 miles.)" What were you doing, following a car for 12 miles at 35 MPH?
Andy, Finland

In Japan the number of mobile phones recently overtook the number of regular phones. I couldn't believe Japanese mobiles when I first came here; they are tiny, weigh nothing and most now have virtually full use of the internet. I'm switching to a full colour version in a few weeks, to receive pictures/photos/animation etc, which is the latest craze. I can't imagine being without it and hope that when I go home to England the industry has caught up.
Alan, Tokyo, Japan

Recently during a Sting concert, the girl behind me spent the whole 2 hours either talking to a friend about the concert or holding the mobile up for the friend to hear the music. Mobiles, like most things, have their uses but there is a time and a place and all too often, a minority of inconsiderate people give all users a bad name!
Mel, England



The thought of being available to anyone 24 hours a day makes me shudder.

Sandra, UK
I find all these anti-mobile sentiments quite surprising, especially coming from internet users! The internet and mobile phones are both new ways of communicating, which is one of our most fundamental needs.
David, UK

Mobile phones like guns are just objects. They only become a problem when they are inappropriately used.
Neil R, UK

It will be a sad day for London when they sell off the excess capacity in the new London Underground communications system to mobile phone network operators.
Dan Wilson, UK

I love communicating but I can't stand the mobile phone. About 18 months ago I put mine in a bin on the way home from work and have never had one since.
Katrina, England

Yes, humans have lived thousands of years without them. And yes, we still could today. But the ability to communicate with anyone anywhere wherever you are is a great thing and people should keep using them and making them better.
Stephen, USA

I don't feel safe without my Nokia 3210. And I use my handsfree whenever I can. I average 30min/day.
Sam Wong, Australia

Worried about radiation? Why don't you get rid of your television and your microwave oven? One turns you into a sheep and the other irradiates your food to complete nothingness. Maybe we should have a long hard look at the way our supposedly civil society runs and not shoot the messenger.
Red, Australia

I'm not addicted. I can quit anytime I want. Honest!
Jonathan Bensley, Australia

If mobiles mean that people can leave the workplace earlier, get home earlier and still do their jobs, that bodes well for British family life. The problem is the noise. For years, the Japanese bullet train has kindly requested all mobile users stand in the area between the carriages. The UK could do introducing a few mobile "norms" and then people might not get so het up.
Laura Philiip, Spain



I get annoyed at the people who talk sufficiently loudly into their phones that the phone is unnecessary.

John, UK
I for one am sick of hearing a wide variety of (usually very loud) mobile rings on a crowded train, almost inevitably followed by someone's elbow in my ribs as they reach to find if it's their phone. I also get annoyed at the people who talk sufficiently loudly into their phones that the phone is unnecessary - the other person can probably hear them just fine without the phone. I also have no interest at all in being a captive audience while some spotty teenager discusses their antics of the night before in all its lurid detail.
John, UK

I have owned a phone for 4 months and only rarely appreciate its usefulness. The main advantage is having it close by to use, more than the amount it is actually used. For women, it is a reassurance that contact with home or the police is only a press of a button away. However, it is not always desirable to be contacted at all times - the only other option is to face others' anger at not being able to speak to you when it is turned off. So, yes, I could easily give it up... but not just yet!
J. Johns, UK

When I see those people walking around and talking into their mobile, or being all around the places and ringing, I am convinced it has fried their brains
Mikko Toivonen, Finland

It has always been obvious to me that hands-free mobiles damage the brain more than hand held. Hands free users tend to shout even louder than hand held ones.
Andy Chisholm, UK



I hope such behaviour becomes as socially unacceptable as drink driving or racism.

Chris Ashley, UK
I am managing to get through life without a mobile phone. I have had plenty of opportunities to buy a mobile phone, but refuse on principle because mobile phone users are the most dreadful species of humankind. What irritates me intensely are those people who cannot or will not switch off their phones when in an audience. It is very rude and inconsiderate for those of us who are trying to enjoy a music concert or listen to a speaker. I hope such behaviour becomes as socially unacceptable as drink driving or racism.
Chris Ashley, UK

I only use my mobile at weekends whilst I am away at our caravan. It is the only way I can keep in touch with my father in case of emergencies. As I travel a number of miles on the motorway I also think it is reassuring if I break down I don't have to worry about getting to a motorway phone
Sharan Beesley, UK

I was shocked to read Simon King's revelation that 60% of people living in this country are missing a vital element of everyday life. How do they manage? Can you get free mobiles from the NHS?
Angus Macpherson, England

I've just ditched my phone - I was making 1 call a week. I want to know whether all the people around me, using their mobiles, are causing me problems. What is the effective range of radiation from a mobile handset ?
Paul, Denmark

I think they are a great Idea, especially if one is on the move, or for young people to have for security. But I think people use them too much. Often I see people using them when there is a normal phone beside them! People should use them less. I don't have one myself though.
Ed, UK



There can be nothing more banal or cloying than the average mobile 'phone conversation

Peter Kohler, USA
Mobile 'phones rank right up there with those hulking "sport utility" vehicles and designer bottled water as the triad of detestable conspicuous consumption trophies of the age. There can be nothing more banal or cloying than the average mobile 'phone conversation shouted out in the confines of the 1810 from Paddington which invariably goes as follows: "Hi, I'm on the train, see you soon." Makes you want to give a big hug to the people who invented the technology to permit this kind of vital communication, doesn't it?
Peter Kohler, USA

I'm on the train; I have a mobile phone. I stare at it, I caress it; willing it to ring. It rings! I answer, 'hello, I'm on the train'. How do people manage without a mobile phone?
Terry Mullard, Kent, UK

Mobile Phones? Work of the Devil, if you ask me. Made for people with nothing to say, to talk to people who don't want to listen. Does anybody make a mobile-phone jammer? I once heard of a cheap personal stereo which upset mobiles. Wonder where I can get one...?
Adriano, UK

Phones are not only great for delayed train travellers. I think they are great for walkers and other outdoor sports where safety is paramount. There has been several instances of lives being saved thanks to mobiles
Julie, UK

This is especially addressed to John: I commute to and from London during the week. That hour's train journey is a welcome break from a busy job (where I am surrounded by and gladly use all the latest technology) and I can read, doze and unwind. However, I appear to be surrounded by inconsiderate people who force you to listen to their idiotic, moronic, inane telephone conversations (I call them 'I'm on the trainers') with people they will meet within the next half hour or so. Call me intolerant but I would like to banish them to the Guards van. Aaargh!
Janet, UK

I have a mobile. Permanently switched off, unless I've arranged for someone to call me back. It's useful, but I could do without it as it's just another expense in a rip-off society. I hate their use on trains and all users of them on trains should be banished to one carriage along with smokers and personal stereo users.
James, UK

I had a mobile phone for 18 months and thought that I could never live again without it. I have now been without it for 2 months, and never been happier. I have my privacy back. No more interruptions and having to keep track of messages, etc....
Dr. Rakish Rana, United Kingdom

Ditch it? Nah. Never got on the mobile phone bandwagon I'm pleased to say. Only one valid use for it as far as I can see - you're a single woman and your car has broken down in the middle of nowhere at the dead of night. I think it could come in useful then...
Nic, England

Mobiles, like most things, are fine in moderation and used sensibly. The dangers of people using them whilst driving (I saw one person on the M3 with one hand on the mobile and a cigarette in the other) is solely due to the selfishness and stupidity of the user. I can also relate to the comment about restaurants and trains - I am not really that interested in whether Sarah is still going out with Jack and neither is the rest of the train carriage or the restaurant. Again - it comes down to not being selfish and being considerate towards other people.
Mark Blackwell, UK

I live in greater London and often see girls late at night walking home from the bus stop or the train station on their mobiles. Usually the girls are talking to a friend or their parents through their journey home. As far as I am concerned this is a massive benefit. It's reassuring for the parents and safer for the teenagers. You couldn't do that with a payphone...unless you were very strong and had a long phone extension!
Jamie, England

We could probably all do without TV's and microwaves, but does that really mean we should? Mobile telecommunications have been an essential resource to many businesses for years. It's progress and here to stay.
Jon Evans, England

The idea that a mobile is a social gadget is outrageous, although they clearly have their uses for business, how annoying is it when a group of friends go for a drink and chat and every five minutes a phone rings, ruining good conversation.
Mark Fowler, England



Mobiles are without a doubt, a vital part of everyday life.

Simon King, UK
Mobiles are without a doubt, a vital part of everyday life. Despite the constant scare mongering, mobiles will continue to sell. With 60% of the UK population without a mobile, the opportunities are enormous.
Simon King, UK

I believe I could make a lot of money by inventing a remote mobile phone disabling device. Maybe by sending out huge burst of electromagnetic radiation we could fry the circuitry of the all mobiles in the local vicinity. I bet there are a few people out there that would buy it for any price!
Jon B, Sweden

I reckon the majority of the population could do without mobile phones. For many they are just a toy not an essential tool.
Graham Currie, Scotland



There are many unstylish facets of the mobile phone world. Appalling tunes, CIA-style headsets, American cop 'gun holsters' for phones. "v.sad"

Angus Macpherson, England
There are many unstylish facets of the mobile phone world. Appalling tunes, CIA-style headsets, American cop 'gun holsters' for phones. "v.sad", yet highly laughable as long as you don't let it get to you. Anyway, the point I wanted to make is that I think we're just in the early stages of mobile communication. I bet some research projects are looking into the possibility of having a phone implanted into your head. I read a science fiction book where people are connected to a giant network with a mesh that has been attached to their brain. This sounds a bit drastic but just think about the possibility of having all the knowledge on the internet accessible from your head. To some extent we would all have the same intellectual resource. You might even be able to send thought e-mails. No one will be able to tell if you're reading Talking Point at work. The possibilities are thought-provoking!
Angus Macpherson, England

It seems that car rage is now being replaced by phone rage. Your contributors call for segregation of phone users so as to enjoy peace, irritation of not being able to cope with a 15 minute train journey and pure snobbery of being forced to listen to a Peer Gynt ring tone. This is precisely the intolerance to which I referred.
John, London, England

Why the hell should I give up my mobile phone? It gives me an extra level of security and means that I am always contactable by elderly parents, friends and others. I can always switch it off and would not of course have it on in a Church or at a formal occasion. There will always be the Luddites who attack any advance in technology. As for the so called annoyance of those using mobile phones in public places, trains, etc I would far rather have that than the screams and tantrums of uncontrolled, badly behaved children which is all too common these days.
Steve Foley, England

Mobile phones are toys for exhibitionists. Get a life, we really CAN live without them!
Edward, Turkey

Over recent years, mobile phones have become more of a fashion accessory - this is undeniable. One only has to look at the designs of the phones and - especially - the number of school children using them. But for many people, they are a necessity and to have to do without them would be equivalent to being forced to do without your car.
Trevor Blayney, N. Ireland

I got rid of my mobile 4 months ago and never looked back. I can understand the need for certain sections of society to have a mobile phone but most people could probably wait until they got home and read their messages on their answer machines. I used to think it was indispensable not now, if I'm in London I just use a payphone instead.
Simon Atkinson, UK



I can't live without it! Giving up smoking would be easier!

David A. O'Reilly, UK
I think I am genuinely addicted to my mobile phone, I can't go anywhere without it! I can't even go on holiday without it! The first thing I do at an airport is turn on my phone!!
I've had a phone for three years now and I cannot imagine all the times it's been handy, however most of the time I could use a payphone if I'm out or my home phone when I am in - so really I have to admit I don't need it, but I can't live without it! Giving up smoking would be easier!
David A. O'Reilly, UK

Having endured many a mobile phone conversation while on the move, I have observed that 90% of the time, people are just talking rubbish. I think people just like to tell everyone else about their day. I would argue that only a very small majority of people actually NEED to use their phones and should be segregated from the rest of us who like to travel in peace.
N Lees, UK

I live in greater London and often see girls late at night walking home from the bus stop or the train station on their mobiles. Usually the girls are talking a friend or their parents through their journey home. As far as I am concerned this is a massive benefit its reassuring for the parents and safer for the teenagers. You couldn't do that with a payphone...unless you were very strong and had a long phone extension!
Jamie, England

With mobile jobs for both my wife and I (her job in Sales Support and mine travelling across Europe 50% of the time) a mobile telephone is essential to keep in contact. Schedules are often changed/delayed meaning pre-arrangements are futile!
Alan Pearson, England

I have two jobs, three offices and travel around a large city for work. And I do not have a mobile phone. And I am not intending to obtain one. I can only agree with some of the other comments that much of the use of these phones is trivial and out of habit (and an expensive habit at that).
DJ Hare, UK

Mobile communication is and will remain as essential as the need to communicate itself. People can never go back.
Joel Levy, UK



I am appalled at the number of people who think they can inflict their personal and often inane conversations on the general public.

Lucy, Malaysia
I firmly believe that mobile phones play a valuable part of life today - if they are used in an appropriate manner for essential/urgent calls but I am appalled at the number of people who think they can inflict their personal and often inane conversations on the general public on buses, trains and tubes and even more so when people think they are so important that they cannot even sit in a theatre, cinema or restaurant without switching their phones off - not only is it irritating to other people it is bad manners too. I would not be without my phone and if I have to use it in public I try to brief and quiet!
Lucy, Malaysia

Having a mobile when I was in my early 20s was my only source of independence. My parents knew that wherever I was, they could call and if I wanted to tell them I'd not be home, then I could call them. It meant I could have my own life and neither of us would worry about not being in touch.
SG, UK

In reply to John of London: You can't be serious in pleading for tolerance when using your mobile on a train, are you? My journey home from work is typically 15 minutes, and is entirely taken up with the whole gamut of tones that mobiles play. (I own a mobile, but it remains switched off where it might irritate innocent others).
It's like sitting inside a computer game, and is extremely irritating that users of phones don't take non-users into consideration when making crucial calls like "Train left a minute late, so I'll be 6 minutes, not 5. Yeah. Love you..." You ask for tolerance? Have some consideration for others, and one day you may merit it.
Jon, UK



Hearing great music being reduced to a sequence of bleeps is, in my mind, pretty tasteless.

Andy, UK
John, as a mobile carrier (who does not use the minimum top-up amount) and who spends two hours a day in the train, I think I can explain.
Many mobile users on a train do not speak into their phone, they SHOUT. It means that while you want to have a quiet read, or nap you are subjected to having to listen to one side of a conversation. And there is another thing - as I typed that last sentence I was subjected to a piece from Peer Gynt being massacred as the "ring" of someone's phone. Hearing great music being reduced to a sequence of bleeps is, in my mind, pretty tasteless.
In short, if folks could please have a quieter ring, that is just that - fine. If they talk quietly and the phones are sophisticated enough to allow this - fine.
Andy, UK



Mobiles are now as essential for businessmen as the briefcase used to be.

Ben Ray, UK
Mobiles are now as essential for businessmen as the briefcase used to be. If they were suddenly to disappear, then we could do without as we did before the early 90s. But as it is, People will never dump them. However it is good when one goes out without one's mobile, as you feel you have some privacy and cannot be disturbed
Ben Ray, UK

I want to be available to talk on the phone when I want, and not when other people want. So I can live without a mobile. I can live without a television too. In fact I do live without both. But I couldn't live without email!
Steve Hunt-Anschütz, UK

Mobiles have become a vital piece of equipment. How much money is saved to industry through their people being able to communicate better, faster etc.
Kris Manning, UK



Fortunately, I have a life and don't need a mobile.

Greg, UK
Sad world when kids now use mobiles to talk and send SMS. The good old days of sitting in your makeshift den and sharing your dreams with your mates prepared you better for the big wide world than talking into a mobile.
Fortunately, I have a life and don't need a mobile to go shopping or a laptop to impress (who??) while I'm in a plane or a restaurant. Watching videos on a mobile phone-now that's sad. It's all going to end in tears... one day.
Greg, UK

Most of the population have one in fear of being left out from their friends and peer pressure I imagine is why many schoolchildren have one. The reason why I have one is because I don't want to pay BT the excessive line rental charges when the money could be spent on a non rental top up mobile phone. This option is much cheaper for those of us on a budget.
Simon Hanson, England

I am one of the few people who could have bought a mobile phone but I have not done so. I don't need one. However, I am grateful for the common usage of mobile phones - it means that the good old common phone boxes are never occupied when I require one!!!!
Peter Day, UK



Life is much faster with a mobile, you can make plans, and break plans at a drop of a hat.

Mustaque, UK
Mobile phones are an integral part of everyday life, I have been mobile now for six years, and I have two phones, a personal, and a business one. Life is much faster with a mobile, you can make plans, and break plans at a drop of a hat.
I think mobile companies should be looking into making mobiles safer for the users, I believe the next mobile company to make the big wave will be the one that comes out with cancer free mobile handsets. watch this space!!!!
Mustaque, UK

Living in Kent and working in London I find my mobile invaluable. On a regular basis I find myself stranded at a station in London as my train is cancelled or delayed. I could use a public phone in a station but where the mobile really comes into its own is when you sit just outside the station for 20 mins or longer.
I think the mobile networks work together with Connex South Eastern because they must make a lot of money each time something goes wrong with the trains.
Paul Collins, UK



Once you are used to them you become dependent on them.

Martin B, UK
I have managed to live my life so far without the use of a mobile phone. I work in a High Tech company designing microchips that go into mobile phones, etc. I do not feel the need for them as once you are used to them you become dependent on them (and lazy). They have their uses but they are taking away the individual's "Time to think before reply".
Martin B, UK

Here are some of my experiences with mobiles, over this past weekend:
Following a car on the highway (speed limit 70mph) doing 35mph, driver had his mobile glued to his head. (Right-hand turn signal was on for 12 miles.)
Trying to eat a meal in a restaurant with 4 out of the 12 tables with customers on their mobiles. (I don't want to know if little Jimmy is out of nappies.)
Waiting in line at the theatre bathroom, listening to two mobiles being used in the stalls and one using the urinal and talking on his mobile at the same time. (I hope his shoes got wet.)
Dave Miller, USA

I've only just got a mobile - thanks to the generosity of my boss - I could quite happily do without it - I like to be uncontactable now and then. But there have been one or two times when it's been useful - especially for other people because I hardly ever check my ansaphone.
Nick, England

It has got to the stage now many people use only our mobiles. The days of BT's stranglehold are gone. I only hope that the phone companies will stop the scandal of charging exorbitant amounts for calls to rival networks.
Chris Merriman, UK



You can almost hear them going tut tut.

John, England
The next generation of phones using WAP technology will be really useful. I will be able to do everything I now do on the internet via a mobile. It will be great to do banking, shopping and investments on the move or even following the BBC news ticker.
What does annoy me though is the reaction of some passengers on trains. Many seem to look down on phone users and you can almost hear them going tut tut. Why can't they be more tolerant?
John, London, England

I carry a mobile in my car all the time, but only use it for urgent messages. I have had one approximately 5 years, but only use it about 3 to 5 times per month.
Ronald Joines, USA

Anything that encourages communication can't be all that bad.
Andrew Davies, Austin, TX, USA

I work for a Mobile Phone Service Provider and the number of people who "run their business" through their mobile phones is scary! What would they do if the whole network crashed and it was beyond the network's control?
P Bould, United Kingdom


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