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Mobile Phones and How We Use Them

Posted in Culture, Entertainment, Technology on April 14, 2022

mobile phonesMobile phones have come a long way since they became affordable to consumers in 1992. Up until the point when Apple introduced the iPhone in 2007, they were only used for voice communication and text messages. Now they’re used for almost everything imaginable.

What Do You Call Mobile Phones?

Back when mobile phones started becoming commonplace, most people called them “cell phones”. Some people still do. The phones tied to the lines in our homes were called “telephones” or “phones”. Today, most people use “phone” when talking about mobile phones and “landline” when talking about residential, wired phones.

I may be mistaken, but I believe the iPhone was the first “smartphone”. It was designed from the beginning to do more than make or receive phone calls, or send and receive text messages. Although “mobile phone” is the correct term, I’ve never heard anyone call it that. It’s been called many other things as well, but the only things I’ve ever heard were “cell phone” and “phone”.

Phone Services

The only real reason we’re still using phone numbers to communicate is because not enough people have adapted to the easier and less expensive alternatives. Mobile phones can be used with any internet service provider, not necessarily a telecommunications provider. VoIP is being used more and more these days with services like Facebook’s Messenger, Line, Signal, Skype, Viber and more. All you need is an internet connection.

When I started shopping online with Lazada, I was annoyed by the fact that they required a phone number to register. Today, I’m using a sister-in-law’s phone number for that purpose because I don’t have one. Not for the Philippines, anyway. The reason they want the number is so that the delivery drivers can find my house and to make sure I’m at home to receive the merchandise. All that could be done with a chat service like Messenger as well, if they felt like implementing it.

My Skype Cell Phone Plan

Although I need a phone number for stupid reasons here in the Philippines, I know I can get a non-data account for a reasonable price. I’ll have to go to one of the malls for that, and I hate driving, so I’m putting it off for as long as I can. It’s something I’ll rarely use. Perhaps I can persuade my wife, Josie, to go in my place.

My Skype cell phone plan, as I affectionately call it, costs me exactly $9.49 USD every month. It includes an American phone number with caller ID, call forwarding and voice mail. I also have unlimited minutes to mobile phones and landlines in the United States. It probably won’t be used as much in the Philippines as it was in the United States. The people I know in the United States use Messenger, so only business calls and texts will likely come to my Skype number.

Dialing a Philippines Mobile Phone Number

Calling mobile phones in the Philippines from the United States can be frustrating and, in many cases, very expensive. Using traditional international long-distance phone services is the most expensive way to contact anyone in the Philippines.

The place in the calling sequence for the area code, when it comes to mobile phones, is a 3-digit number which has nothing to do with anything. If you want to call a mobile phone from the United States to the Philippines, it would look like this: 011-63-XXX-XXX-XXXX.

011 is the international access number, 63 is the country number and the first set of numbers after that is the mobile phone network prefix, without the zero up front. That zero is only used when dialing locally. A local number would be 0XXX-XXX-XXXX.

Mobile Phones Promote Bad Behavior

If someone knocked on your door in 1990 and asked to use your phone, it meant coming inside and using your landline. Today, people won’t even knock on your door. They’ll just ask to use the phone you’re carrying (and probably with your face buried in one social network or another).

When we used landlines, it wasn’t expected that we’d always be available. It was considered rude to call people when they were sleeping (or should be sleeping). Today, it seems we’re expected to be available 24 hours a day.

On the flip side, some people won’t answer their phones at all, even when courtesy is in play. Mobile gamers, and I know two of them very well, can’t be bothered to answer a call when it means their games will be interrupted. Of course, some people aren’t rudely ignoring their phones. Josie, for example, doesn’t carry her phone with her anywhere. She can’t answer it unless she’s in the same room.

It’s a shame when people sit down together and end up spending more time on their phones than talking to each other. It’s also a shame when people walk on the street, oblivious to traffic, with their head buried in one app or another. I call them cell phone addicts or cell phone zombies.

Good Mobile Phones Are Expensive

Since I can’t afford to spend what others spend on my retirement income, I have to make them last. I once had a Samsung Galaxy S4 for years after it was no longer supported. The operating system I used was still Android, but it was the LineageOS distribution.

Josie has a Samsung Galaxy S10+ she received from our older son, Joe. I have the S10e model that I received from our younger son, Jon. When Samsung stops supporting them, I’ll figure out a way to keep them going for at least a couple of more years.

I Like and Dislike My Phone at the Same Time

A list of the things I like about mobile phones (and I probably can’t list them all):

Since I have both a desktop and laptop computer at my disposal, I’m more likely to avoid using my phone when I’m at home. I’m at home almost all the time, and I don’t need to go places. Retirement is awesome in that respect. There is one thing I use my phone for quite a lot. I’ll watch movies or TV shows I’ve downloaded after I go to bed at night. The ambient noise puts Josie to sleep, and I’ll know she’s asleep when she starts snoring.

My list of dislikes is shorter:

When I start getting lots of notifications from apps I don’t really care about, I’ll do everything I can to disable them. The spam texts have almost disappeared since I removed the SIM card months ago. I doubt they’ll return with a local number.

I have to keep my audio muted when I’m sleeping so phone calls won’t wake me up. When I get a local number, if anything gets out of hand, I’ll do what I used to do and turn it off completely.

Image by Pexels from Pixabay

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