Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Message Sent

Ten years ago the cell phone was something for the rich and well off only. Back then beepers were the “in” thing, along with tamagotchis. Mobile phones were so large that its only difference with a landline phone is that a cell phone is handy but still bulky (it’s like bringing a landline with you). And as far as I remember, cell phones back then were all on post-paid basis so owners expect bills as expensive as their electric bills arriving in their doorstep every month.
Five years ago, the cell phone phenomenon started to take over the country. I remember during my early days in high school when a classmate showed his cell phone. (I can’t remember exactly whether it was Nokia 5110 or 3310 but what I’m sure is that it was the model that was then considered “sosyal.”) We were quite amazed, and soon enough some classmates jumped the bandwagon and started buying their own cell phones. There were “competitions” as to who will get the higher score in Snake and debates on how the game Logic is played (up to now I still don’t know how to play that game). I did not have a cell phone until I entered college but I was not out of the loop back then since I always borrowed the “family cell phone”, which I just use at home. Forwarding jokes and quotations was very predominant and of course I had my share of “text mates” (which today I think is just a waste of load).

Almost every one now owns a cell phone. Every week, a new model is released making your cell phone look so obsolete. Now, a cell phone is not just for calls and text messages but you can now use it to take pictures, listen to music, record voice or video clips, and many more. The ring tones were upgraded from monotones to polytones and now real music. Ring tones are not limited to music only, since I’ve also heard a Mike Enriquez and an “I see dead people” ring tone. Cell phone crimes have climbed the ladder too. Theft cases have risen from snatchings to hold ups. There was even a report that a student was killed because he refused to give his cell phone to a robber. There is also what you call “text scams” where someone will text you saying that you have won a huge amount of money, the catch being, you have to pay first before you receive and a lot of people have fallen to that ploy. And of course, there are the “sex scandals” being passed from phone to phone. From college students to celebrities the choices are endless. No wonder the bold film industry is already dead here because why pay if you could have your pornography right in your hands?

There are about 30 million phone users in the Philippines, and they send an average of 400 million text messages a day (and that figure was before the “unlimited texting”). Well, China sends more text messages than us, but you have to consider their population. No wonder the telecom companies are one of the richest corporations in the country. I’ve read in Philippine Daily Inquirer that Smart has 20.8 million subscribers, Globe has 13.62 subscribers and the newbie Sun has about 2 million. The total is 36.42 million subscribers or 42.8 percent of the country’s 85 million population. According also to a Philippine Daily Inquirer article, in the first half of 2005 Filipinos spent 165.8 billion pesos for telecommunication services. Ironically, we are a country that is having an economic crisis.

Many explanations were made why we Filipinos are cell phone-crazy people but it all boils down to the fact that we love staying connected in an instant. If you’re alone and bored, just text someone and you will not feel alone anymore. Text messages became so popular because most of us are shy and is have troubles expressing ourselves. With text messaging, we are more comfortable speaking out what’s on our mind.

The mobile phone business is still not showing signs of waning. The cell phone is now a part of our lives. The competition between the telecom companies is stiffer than ever. Mobile phone services has became more affordable especially with the introduction of “loads in sachet”, that is electronic loading which has became a common fixture in sari-sari stores, canteens and even the sidewalks. While almost everything has become more expensive, the prices of telecom services have been dropping. In these trying times where the country is in an economic turmoil, an affordable way of getting connected is what we need since a cell phone is no longer considered a luxury but a necessity.


JP said...

ano ba talaga "official" blog mo, ito o multiply? :lol:

herman said...

With a country divide by seas and more seas, the need for communication is vital.

I remember my dad's first cellphone, more than a decade ago. It was considered "High-tech" then. It weigh more than ten-times the current cellphone's weight and as much as large too. Battery life was loussy then, you have to charge the phone everyday and the talktime is just under a few hours. It sports a primitive LED display compared to now's high-res LCD's and have an external casing resembling a Vietnam War Platoon radio. Since my grandfather is a lawyer and my dad is his legal assistant, the cellular phone (as it was called then) proved to be a versatile commodity. It worked well though the bill was jaw dropping. By comparison, today's cellphone are no more than SMS messenger and are for vanity/show off purpose only.

It is now used not for utility but as a status-symbol!

forg said...

true, forgot to include that the cell phone is also becoming a "Pampasikat" my phone does not have a camera but i dont give a damn basta nakakapag text ako hehe... my phone is actually is so plain it does not have fancy ring tones or any MMS pic