• New study by Vodafone UK into the nation’s mobile phone habits shows that worrying about the cost of calling someone back makes Brits answer the phone in the strangest places
• Younger mobile phone users would talk more often and make more calls if they didn’t have to worry about the cost
• 8 out of 10 people have numbers in their address book that have never been called
Many British mobile phone users are so attached to their devices but so worried about the cost of calling someone back that they’ll answer a call whatever they’re doing, according to a new survey by Vodafone UK. We don’t think twice about answering a call while preoccupied in the bathroom, or even when we’re spending ‘quality time’ with our partner.
While being ‘busy’ in the bedroom topped the list of times people should never answer the phone, worryingly, a third of mobile phone users said they would do it. During a wedding, at the dinner table and on a date are also times when people will take a call rather than wait and call back later, according to the majority of those questioned.
The figures were revealed by research carried out by Vodafone to mark the recent launch of Vodafone Red, its best ever value plan, which lets customers talk and text as much as they want and get loads of internet. Vodafone Red lets customers make as many calls as they want, whenever they want. So instead of picking up the phone at a time when perhaps they shouldn’t, customers can call back later without worrying about the cost.
Vodafone’s Mobile Manners survey of over 2,000 mobile phone users shows that men are more likely than women to think it’s ok to talk in the loo, and those from Cardiff are most likely to take a call while on a date.
Srini Gopalan, Consumer Director, Vodafone UK said: “It seems as a nation we’re desperate not to miss out on the latest gossip no matter what we’re up to. But this doesn’t mean you have to take a call even when you’re responding to the call of nature, having a romantic dinner or in bed.
“Now Brits have unlimited calls, they don’t need to interrupt quality time with their partner to answer their phone as there’s no need to worry about the cost of returning a missed call. Even cutting a chat short when you do call back for fear of running out of inclusive minutes is now a thing of the past.”
The study into modern phone use reveals the crucial role that mobile phones play in everyone’s lives with 90 per cent of people saying they had received a very important call on their mobile. Over a quarter said they had been given a job offer, nearly 15 per cent said they had been told about the birth of a child and one per cent even said they had been proposed to via their mobile phone. In London, the number of people who have been proposed to over the phone rose to more than 4%.
The research also revealed while the majority of us have between one and 50 numbers in our phones, we only speak regularly to between five and ten of those people. It also emerged around 8 out of 10 of us have numbers in our phone’s address book that we have never called.
The research also examined why many of us choose to text rather than call. The results showed convenience, time, cost and bizarrely, how much we like the recipient of our text, all play a part, with teens most likely to go through this thought process when they get their phone out.
But the research also showed that despite their love of texts, younger mobile phone users actually want to talk more often and would make more calls if they didn’t have to worry about the impact on their pocket.
Srini Gopalan added: “It’s time to revive the art of conversation. People still want to talk but they want to do that without worrying about the cost.
“We’ve seen from our research that the younger generation in particular would call more people more often and would talk for longer if cost wasn’t a factor. And there are clearly plenty of people in everyone’s address book that we don’t catch up with often enough. With Vodafone Red, mobile phone users can call whoever they want, whenever they want.”
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Find out more at Vodafone.co.uk/red
For more information:
Vodafone UK Media Relations
Telephone: +44 (0) 1635 666777
Notes to editors
The survey looked at mobile phone use in Belfast, Birmingham, Brighton, Bristol, Cardiff, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Leeds, Liverpool, London, Manchester, Newcastle, Norwich, Nottingham, Plymouth, Sheffield and Southampton and discovered:
• Almost half the respondents in Glasgow could imagine a time when they would answer the phone ‘in the throes of passion’ – more than anywhere else – while people in Norwich were the most likely to consider such behaviour unacceptable (almost 8 out of 10 said you should never answer the phone in such a situation).
• Mobile phone users in London were most likely to answer a call at a wedding (with only a third saying it is unacceptable), while more people in Brighton said it was unacceptable (65% of respondents) than anywhere else.
• Almost two-thirds of the respondents in Leeds would consider answering the phone on the loo – more than anywhere else – but this behaviour was most objected to by people in Liverpool, with over half saying it was one place where the phone should never be answered.
• More people in Cardiff than anywhere else in the UK said it was reasonable to answer the phone while on a date, with only 30% saying it is unacceptable, while more people in Edinburgh objected to such behaviour than the rest of the UK, with 52% saying it is unacceptable.
• People in Cardiff were also the most likely to answer the phone in the bath, with only 22% saying that should never be done, while people in Nottingham most objected to it (46%).
• People in Nottingham were also most likely to object to people answering the phone while exercising (29%) or on public transport (19%). The fewest number of people said you should never answer the phone while exercising in Sheffield (13%) and the fewest number of people objected to using the phone on public transport in Glasgow (6%).
When it comes to receiving important news on a mobile phone, again there were differences across the UK:
• More people in Cardiff have received news of a job offer on their mobile phone than anywhere else (37%).
• More people in Birmingham have been notified of the birth of a grandchild, niece or nephew (23%) and of the birth of their own child (3%) than anywhere else.
• More people in Brighton have been told that their offer on a house has been accepted than anywhere else (12%).
• More people in Leeds have received exam results on their mobile phone than anywhere else (15%).
• More people in London have been proposed to over the phone (just over 4%) than anywhere else.
The survey also looked at the different mobile phone habits of men and women and discovered that:
• More women (47%) than men (37%) thought it was unacceptable to answer the phone on the loo.
• More women (53%) than men (44%) thought you should never answer the phone at a wedding.
• As for answering the phone ‘in the throes of passion’, 70% of women said it was unacceptable compared with 64% of men.
Vodafone Red plans include unlimited calls to UK mobiles on any network and landlines (starting 01, 02, 03) and unlimited standard UK texts. It does not include calls to premium rate, 08 and directory enquiry services. There is no ‘fair usage’ policy for unlimited calls and texts but our terms and conditions state that customers are not allowed to sell all or any part of our services to anyone else and we reserve the right to disconnect customers who are engaging in fraud, criminality or activity which would damage or affect the operation of our network or services.
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