Quarter Life Crisis

The world according to Sven-S. Porst

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Phone (i)rates

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I just spent a couple of hours on the phone to Mona, thanking her for the parcel Dan and her sent me recently containing a couple of books and to sort out a visit to them in March. Afterwards I called Stephie in Oslo for a rather long time. The good thing is - all of this won't make me broke. Since they opened the market for phone carriers in Germany in the mid-nineties, long-distance calls have become dirt cheap. Calling people in Europe won't set you back more than 4 cents per minute if you dial the correct prefix (no registration required...)

The only caveat is - all this is only true for calls to landlines. Be foolish enough to call someone's mobile number and you'll pay roughly ten times as much. That's why I avoid mobile phones. I don't want to give money to those people, charging horrendous amounts so they can pay for their infrastructure.

It seems, that despite a call from a proper phone to a mobile phone being very expensive, calls in the opposite direction are very cheap. As Michelle, one of my flatmates in England, used to point out - calling friends from her mobile off-peak was actually cheaper than using our landline. (I guess the sound quality was crap and she'll have brain cancer one day - but those are different issues.)

The mobile phone companies want to fool people into getting their toys 'coz it's cheap and make everybody else - who has to phone them - pay the bill. This hasn't always been the case. The first mobile phone I saw, was way back in the 80s - actually it was a car phone - in the car of a friend's dad who was some sort of fat-cat executive. I was told that he actually had to pay for every call he received as well - as probably charging all of it to the caller still seemed immoral back then.

With the number of mobile phones growing, sometimes it is hard to avoid calling one. Some people don't even have proper phone lines anymore. Apparently in Britain, primary schools have funding troubles because they saw their phonebills for calls to parents whose children didn't come to school skyrocket. That wasn't a problem, though, the money could be scraped off the book-budget.

It's a brave new world, isn't it?

January 31, 2003, 0:47

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