No Phones, One Phone, Two Phones, More?
By Mike Masnick, Mon Jul 19 22:45:00 GMT 2004

People use mobile phones in many different ways. While some are discovering that one phone isn't enough, others are finding that it's too many.


For years, handset makers have been worried about market saturation issues. They're always targeting new mobile phone users, but as those become harder to find, some wondered if there were ways they could convince people to buy multiple phones. While the new generation of camera phones, 3G phones and smartphones has kept the handset industry booming, there are still some concerns about market penetration.

Certainly there are still efforts to convince new mobile users it's time to join this millennium, as some people still refuse to buy a mobile phone, but they are few and far between. The article describes two busy professionals in Singapore who are happy in their mobile-less ways -- though, they admit they know of no others who are without mobile phones, and sometimes have to deal with business associates who think they're simply hiding their mobile phone numbers. They claim they can be reached in other ways, and the reporter admits that he had no problem reaching either of them. Amusingly, both men have wives who have mobile phones -- and one of the wives even carries two phones.

This brings up the companion article to the men with no mobile phones, which describes how many young adults in Singapore now carry two mobile phones. Of course, unlike the original "different phones for every occasion" plans that handset makers have discussed in the past, the reasoning usually has more to do with the way mobile operators price their service plans -- with large included bundles, and high per minute or per message fees beyond that. The dual phone toting crowd often does it because it's cheaper to mix and match their minutes and messages to better optimize their phone bills.

Of course, this doesn't come without its own hassles. Carrying two phones is quite a nuisance for some. One young man points out that fitting both phones into a single pocket is a real pain (quite literally) and makes it nearly impossible to sit down. Others point to a more fundamental problem: while they may be able to keep track of which phone has free incoming calls and which ones have free text messages left, their friends certainly can't. Thus, they end up getting calls on the phones with no minutes available and text messages on the phones with no free messages left, making the whole thing not only more confusing, but also more expensive. Perhaps the multiple phones for multiple occasions method of expanding the market is a better way to go.