Monday, February 07, 2005

Mobile Phone Rebellion

BRUSSEL - Per honderd inwoners van de Europese Unie zijn er bijna tachtig abonnementen of beltegoedcontracten voor mobiele telefoons. De meeste gsm'etjes zijn te vinden in Luxemburg, waar zelfs meer mobiele abonnementen of contracten zijn dan inwoners, Zweden en Italië.

BRUSSELS – For every one hundred inhabitants in the European Union, there are around eighty subscription or prepaid contracts of mobile telephones. The most GSM’s are found in Luxembourg, and Sweden and Italy are countries where there is more mobile subscription or prepaid contracts than its population.

“Nederland zit met 77,2 gsm's per honderd inwoners iets onder het gemiddelde. De opkomst van de mobiele telefoon is stormachtig geweest. In 1995 waren er in Europa nog maar vijf gsm's per honderd inwoners te vinden.”

The Netherlands is about 77.2 GMS’s per one hundred inhabitants, which is quite below the average. The introduction however of the mobile telephone was in the past riotous. In 1995 there are only five GSM’s to be found in Europe per one hundred inhabitants.

Article can be found HERE (in Dutch)

I am wondering though what would be the statistics for the Philippines?

I used to and still am a mobile telephone rebel. I had some sort of internal insubordination issue against the Philippine’s celfone culture.

It was sometime in 1995 when I had my first mobile telephone, an Ericsson with a flip-flop rotating antenna. It was cool to sport a mobile phone during those times when you are considered to be “in” and “wow” by the society just by posessing them. But after paying huge monthly subscription bills (back then you can imagine the sky rocket prices and there was no SMS yet), I realized my stupidity and dropped off the vanity. Ack, it was a personal mobile telephone after all. I was thus naïve… I went with the flow of technology without understanding its costly consequences.

Lesson learned: Never ever buy personal when your employer can buy it for you.

My second mobile telephone came in 1997 with subscription, given to me by the consulting firm I worked for. Better... but the darn thing was humongous and weighty. In fact its a good weapon for self defense.

Then Nokia (1998-99) came evangelizing in Asia, blitzing in every corner of the Asian continent their new colorful and miniature Nokia models. Everyone was at awe.

Should I get insecure with my massive handset?” I thought.

I then fixed my thoughts at the mammoth Philips mobile telephone sitting in my lap. This has always saved me. The thing was THE conversation piece and THE ice breaker on my client calls, especially when I am faced with a difficult poker faced customer. Flashing my mobile is sure enough to cause a commotion and the reaction varies from surprised to shock. People are always intrigued to see an almost pre-historic piece, haha. Well, I kinda loved the attention though.

Then the blessing in disguise arrived when I broke up with my ex-boyfriend. Since the mobile telephone, for certain reasons I do not want to expound reminded me of him, I decided to get rid of it. Ah, the joys of being an independent woman, some objects are just replaceable, hehe. Off he goes and hello to sleek brand spanking new Philips.

Here is a long kept secret that I have: I loathed joining the pack of obsessed Nokia-ers back home. I, as a concerned consumer, must after all help balance the GSM economy. Buying from the competition will help drive consumer prices down. But sadly sleek Philips survived only for a year because my sister threatened to steal it from me. I was compelled to give it to her.

And to resist the strong tide was inexorably futile, so I thought what the heck, its time to test the waters with Nokia. I then bought a Nokia3210. No nitpicking please, I know it’s nothing fancy. Brand new Nokia3210 was short lived too. Stupid me, I left it in Citibank’s cafeteria during lunch. Bless the soul who found it as he or she never returned it to me!

Now I was left with no mobile telephone and being in sales means this is just unacceptable. You must never be offline, you must at all times, be reachable.

I was actually starting to enjoy the peace but I must work so I bought a second hand Nokia3210 from guess where and who? Our department secretary, for a measly PHP 2,000. I actually liked the idea that I bought it cheap as it was used. I think I have become cheap like the Dutch.

I do admit, I plead guilty for being sometimes kuripot (thrifty) by Philippine standards. Appreciating French-Italian haute couture and Made in China mass tailoring is nothing new. To argue this point --- it’s not the accessory, mobile telephone or ensemble that makes the person, but the other way around. Don’t you just gloat when people stare at what you have thinking you bought it at a hefty price when in fact it was cheap? This to me is the idea of vanity.

On the other hand, the secretary herself bought a Nokia8210(?) that costs PHP 18,000. Whoa, that was her monthly salary already, good grief! LOL!

*Shakes head* Ik vraag me af... (It makes me wonder). Is this a
basic requirement? A fashion accessory? A status quo? Or perhaps a life support? ---I guess!

The 2nd hand Nokia3210 is still with me. It has survived Dutch immigration and currently sits in our vault (yeah well guarded, haha).


  1. MissT, lol, I also have a huge mobile phone history! Starting from Philips to Panasonic to Nokia to Sony Ericsson to Motorola (the one I have now). Still, I'm always on the look for the cool, new, way out of my budget mobile phones! I wish there was someone who would buy it for me??

  2. I had my first cell phone culture shock when I went home to Phils in the year 2000.When I was asked if I have one, I said NO I dont own a cell phone. Me coming from overseas and now owning one, and everyone in Phils seems to memorize every model available. Wow. I do own 2 now (2 one for my permanent greek gsm & the other wherever I would be, I put a local sim) but honestly they are not the latest gadgets. As long it rings, and I say hello thats fine with me... PS dont ask me for the model either! Hurray Miss T for not a gadget whizz ;-) I did pressume you own the latest and the best, due to the fact you are a business woman and travels a lot!

  3. I think your phone is a 6310 if I remember correctly. ^_^ If not, it's one of those 63 models anyway. I've never been vain with mobile phones until recently. My ever beloved first one was a 5110 which served me for almost 5 years and followed by a smaller one with a radio -- I forgot the model. Both still with me now for sentimental memorabilia sake. And I currently have a 6600 which I want to change to the touch screen 7710. Heehee. This is the only techy thing I like other than the pc. But I've never been a trend-follower in Pinas. It simply lacks originality and genuine coolnees so I sport my own style and fashion and with that, I made my 5110 cooler. 'Twas all black with red backlights, keypads without white numbers (actually already erased from having been used a lot) and bought a thinner and lighter battery so it won't be too bulgy in the pocket. While my friends had those tiny ones, I was proud with mine and was even complimented with it several times.

  4. Anonymous12:10 pm

    LOL I know! When I came back to the Philippines I was literally shocked by how SAVVY everyone was with their mobile phones. Even those stand bys and jeepney drivers have expensive models! It seems to me that everyone must have a mobile phone even if they dont have anything to eat LOL.

    My sister earns relatively okay, I think she earns around P 26,000 but she just recently bought a P 21,000 phone last Christmas saying its her Christmas gift to herself. I was like, HUH? Whats wrong with buying a P 5,000 - P 8,000 phone and instead save the remaining money?

    Hahahahaha. Its image in the Philippines. I am cultured shocked! LOL

  5. Ah, the ubiquitous mobile. I never had one til I got to Italy, but soon succumbed to the convenience. I started out with a Motorola Timeport and lost it after a year. I bought another one, then accidently left that one in a cab in Hong Kong. My third one got stolen (this is Italy after all...). I put number 4 on the roof of my car while I put something in the car and forgot about it. I found it a couple hours later in the middle of a busy street, smashed flat. I'm now on number 5 - a Siemen's S55 model. I like the small size of it but other than that am not too thrilled with it. I'll probably opt for a Motorola or Nokia when something happens to this one, which should be any day now.

    BTW, when I moved to Italy 5 years ago, I remember reading that Finland was actually the country with the highest per capita cell phone use in the world (Italy was #2). Any idea if that's still true?


  6. Anonymous4:10 pm

    Ah, the 3210. I love my 3210. I've had it for several years now and I refuse to let go of it until it breathes its last. And I'm sure no one will mug me just to steal my ugly old phone!

    Trivia Buff

  7. PS Do you carry your cell phone with you even you are in the loo? I know one Filipino guy who does... he said thats what phone for.. so they can find you anytime.
    My South African friend actually asked me this question, "Whats with Fipino and cell phones?"

  8. Anonymous6:26 pm

    I had the same rebellion toward the cellphone...while most of the Fil celphone users in Metro Manila had theirs for vanity (it can't be argued that the cellphone had advantages in an archipelago like ours), I had mine purely because I had no choice but be reachable for emergencies, be it work-related (clinic) or home-related (I lived in Bulacan then; easier to reach my by cellphone). I had never wanted cellphones with camera and other cool techie stuff (I prefer using the money on my PC and other gadgets that go with it.); on the contrary I loath the idea that people always trade in their cellphones to upgrade, almost like buying clothes for fashion (only much more expensive!). Why? I see it as because it's something that they need to create a good image wherever they are, probably out of inferiority? or plain pagyayabang...I saw (and physically examined) Japayukis with the latest models of cellphones (most of those who flaunted theirs were the same kind of rubbish personalities as the non-Japayukis. I'm saying this because in all kinds of people, there are those with really good personality, kahit Japayuki pa sya)...I used to use my cellphone purely for the purpose I intended it to be. And now that I am a stay-at-home mom, I am glad not to have one (I no longer need it).

  9. nokia - i started with the BIG model and exchanged it to 3210 right away after its launching to the market. stayed with it for years..

    pinoys are just crazy over mobile phones. i was even preaching to my operators before not to lurk in this vice and explained to them that i had one because i needed it, i was away from my family (most of them are habitants of the same town where our company was) ... bof, the last time i was there, they were even askihg me what kind of phone i have and were suprised to know that i have a 3310. what the fuss..i wasnt IN.

    frenchguy bought me a new one with a cam from thailand (cheaper there!) i could flaunt it in pinas..hehe, he starts to learn our culture...i hardly use it tho..

  10. Anonymous7:55 pm

    A cell phone is very convenient to have especially when going on vacation in europe. On our first cruise 2 years ago, because of emergency situation my wife used the ship's phone to call the U.S. They charged $15 per minute for 10 minutes. By our second cruise last year, we got smarter. I bought a Nokia from for $49 and calling the U.S. only cost $1.25 to $1.50. No monthly fee, no roaming charge. You only get charged when you use it. When your on the go everytime you hit port, calling home from a tour bus is so convenient. Looking for a pay phone is time consuming and a cell phone from is so cool. If you go to europe for 2 weeks or less every year, it's the phone for you.
    BTW, your U.S. phone is of no use in europe unless it's GSM.

  11. Please translate for me?
    and read the post "Please Translate".

  12. Anonymous8:33 pm

    Lol...i enjoyed this piece. I bought a Nokia 3310 in 2001 when I was still living in London. Went home for a vacation the following year and people were shocked that I still had such model. They told me pang "security guard" or "yaya" na lang daw yung model na yon. I certainly don't understand the obsession of Pinoys on having the fanciest phones, even if it means spending more than what they could really afford. For me as long it serves me well and I don't lose sleep over it, masaya na ako :-) SARI

  13. Anonymous8:42 pm

    We went to visit PI last 2003 and we didn't even bother to bring our phones from here. To hook up with people, I ended up sporting my mama's 3210. I didn't realize the reaction I got from my friends and some of my cousins with the 3210. They thought it was so "uncool". tsk, tsk, tsk, pinoys - there's nothing like us...

  14. Anonymous8:59 pm

    ELJA, its understandable coz you are still young! the young generation are the buyers you know.

    TARK, I guess you are right. I asked Dutchman and he said its 6310i, we have the same, his from the company too.

    RIK, Yeah, I thought that too coz Finland is the homebase of Nokia and Ericsson but maybe things now have changed? That article I recently got (yesterday). That putting on the roof happened to my colleague too. We came back and saw the mobile on the parking still in tact. Too bad yours was smashed!

    SHA, I almost never use my phone actually, lol! I only bring it with me to work and during the weekend it stays in my bag. So if someone sends me an SMS over the weekend (and in the evening), I will never receive it coz I only check my mobile monday to friday 7am - 7pm hehe

    TRIVIABUFF, Yup the 3210 was soooooo popular! lol

    ANA, bonggacious pa rin si frenchguy mo, hehe. better use the phone a lot then. sayang.

    To the ANONYMOUSES (hehe),

    True it is indeed handy in the Philippines to have a mobile due to the archipelago argument (kalat-kalat tayo dun). Pero its really true na mobile phones is all about "image", like fashion (as someone said mas mahal lang lol). I simply cannot understand people doing this just to show off. Oh well whatever siguro rocks their boat!

    And ya, GSM is useless in the USA. Though thanks to new mobile phone models with dual and tri-band capabilities, then its easier. But $ 15.00 a minute? Holy goat!


  15. Anonymous9:04 pm

    SARI and to the other ANONYMOUS,

    i am laughing hard here, YAYA 3210 phone and using your MAMAs 3210 LOL. see.... the nokia3210 is soooo popular! LOL LOL


  16. BTW, $15 a minute is not a GSM cellular call but a satellite communication service.When the boat/yachts move away from the land and gets farther away and cell phones get NO SIGNAL AT ALL, sat com is the only communication available and this is expensive.Satellite relays your call to a gateway which converts the call to your local provider!

  17. Hello Miss T.
    over here in SG, it is just common to change handphones as Singtel, M1 and other service providers provide them free as long as you sign up for 2 years contract or you trade in your handphone. i lost tract of what hp i got over the years, but my one now is Siemens, a simple one just for phone calls as i prefer digital camera than phone camera, my mp3 than radiophone and so on.
    actually, a hp here is a necessity.

  18. Anonymous1:33 am

    I can be such a dork sometimes.....I am the other anonymous (re: mama's 3210.)


  19. The one thing I do prefer about the States is that you can get all kinds of good calling plans. That's a lot cheaper than here, where the only option you have is keep charging your phone with euro. I go through 25 euro in about a week with regular use, so I have to keep my usage down or I'll be paying 100 euro a month. In the US, you can get stuff like free nights and weekends. Wish we could get that here.

    And yeah, I alway buy a tri-band so it'll work anywhere in the world. Then I get the international roaming hooked up so when people call me, it'll ring no matter where I am in the world. It's always funny when someone calls to ask to if you want to go get a drink and you tell them, "I can't, I'm in Hong Kong right now", or some other far away place!

  20. Anonymous5:43 pm

    I can't understand why people buy expensive cell phones where a simple and inexpensive one will suffice. Is it because of "mine is better than yours" mentality? To stand out among the rest? I call it misplaced priority. Money is better spent on basic necessities rather than propping up your image. I consider my cell phone as a necessity, a device to communicate, to conduct business. Many treat it as fashion accessory for eveybody else to see. When you buy a cell phone worth a month's salary, that's way out of line for me. Is this one reason why filipinos can't seem to see it's way towards prosperity?

  21. i feel the same way about Nokias and have never bought/owned one. i do covet them sometimes because they have so many features.

    i got my very first mobile phone in 1987 here in the US during highschool days. it was the BIGGEST phone ever. it was connected to its own transmitter and it came with a shoulder bag to carry it around (total weight: 15 pounds and cost $700 then!). the good thing about it was that it was also a car phone -- my parents (always thinking about my safety) had it wired to the car's internal system so it charges itself while the engine is on; it is a speakerphone; and was also connected to an internally- wired microphone in the car (hands-free) so that i could still drive my 5-speed VW Fox while chatting on the phone.

    so, can anyone beat that? to top it off, i still have the same phone number i had since 1987.

  22. you guys are all funny LOL! im having a blast reading here! and hello to all the new posters and anonymouses hehe ;-)

  23. Anonymous9:59 pm

    Ya know those first cellphone, you know those big ones--they look like pangkaskas ng yelo. I still have mine, I brought it here in the States and I take it out to show my friends whenever we hang out together. We always get a good laugh out of it.

    But I didn't buy a cellphone until last year--I held out and was kinda proud that I was the only one not using a cell. Now I've been assimilated. Resistance is futile.


  24. Anonymous11:54 pm

    Hahaha! After 2 years in Amsterdam I'm still using my Cebu-bought 3210. LOL
    It's sole purpose is for the kids. Sometimes they play or sleep over (the "logeren" thing) some friend's house. It also comes handy sending/receiving SMSjes with friends though, as we once-in-a-while do. ;-)


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