Please mask my email address.
Each system has its pluses and minuses. In Europe the caller pays
means that everyone gives out their cell number because it costs them
nothing to receive calls. Market penetration is over 75% in most
countries, and 100% in major areas like Paris. The market penetration
is much lower in the states. If the European system were inferior, why
wouldn't it be less popular? If the American system is so wonderful
why are there far fewer cell phones than here in Europe? Why is the
European market so much larger?
In Paris I can use my cell phone in the subway and in most tunnels.
Can you do that in New York? Of course, not. I can use my phone on
high speed trains (oh yes, European trains are superior, too). Skiers
in the Alps can call, too, very useful in case of an emergency. In the
states, coverage is very spotty indeed. I can use my cell phone
anywhere in London or Paris. Alas, this isn't true in New York City.
Worse, there are several different systems in the states. If you
decide to change from Sprint to Cingular you have to get a new
phone. In Europe all I need do is insert the new sim into my phone,
which is not locked to a single carrier, as in the states.
In the states people carry a pager and a cell phone, which is more
costly, and a nuisance to boot. One receives a message on ones pager,
then one turns on the cell phone and makes the call. Isn't that silly?
If callee pays were the norm for landline phones Bell Telephone would
never have reached the 100% market penetration it did. There would be
phone books either. The European system employs a distinct area code
for cell phones so there is no confusion. Not so in the states. If I
call a 305 or a 917 area code I don't know if it is a cell phone or a
There are now plans here in Europe where calls are free in the evening
and weekends, or to close friends or relatives, the same as in the
Alas, there is the problem of the exorbitant charge levied on landline
calls to cell phones, which is a scandal. Of course, given that
virtually everyone has a cell phone, one is careful to use it when
calling another cell phone and since those numbers have a different
area code, this is an easy choice. The regulatory bodies in some
countries, the UK and France in particular, are now "leaning" on the
cellular operators to lower those rates for calls to cell phones from
a landline phone. It is now approaching only 10 cents here in France,
still too high I'll admit.
In sum, more people have cell phones and coverage is far better here
in Europe. What are we doing wrong, other than the problem of landline
to cell call charges? If the American system were better, wouldn't it
be logical to assume a larger market?