A phone for all seasons

17 Apr 2008

Is it any wonder that mobile phone penetration in Ireland is at 114pc, one of the highest ownership rates globally? Many of us switch from handset to handset depending on the occasion.

Carphone Warehouse’s chief executive Stephen Mackarel said that while the BlackBerry remains a best-selling smart phone for the business user, it is often switched off at the end of the business week in favour of a regular handset due to a work/life balance decision.

“There’s a growing trend towards a little bit of peace and quiet at the weekend. People don’t necessarily want work being able to reach them on their days off so that phone is getting turned off and put in a drawer until Monday morning.”

“It’s a lifestyle thing: we have gone from being ultra-contactable to needing a little space.”

Added to this, Mackarel said businesses nowadays tend to lock down on non-work related use of company mobiles for cost-efficiency, leading to many workers using two handsets simultaneously.

In other fields like construction and outdoors work, Mackarel sees the same ‘two phones’ trend.

He said that while the robust and sturdy JCB phone is selling well at Carphone Warehouse, it is a phone designed to do straightforward functions like talking and texting and not one for surfing the web or taking video clips.

“You’re not going to see too many of them on the counter in a pub on a Friday or Saturday night because people will use a second one at the weekend for different functionality.”

But why are the Irish so attached to their mobiles? Mackarel reckons its both a cultural and generational thing.

“A lot of us grew up in the generation where there was one phone in the house and if you wanted to make a private phone call you had to wait until everyone else in the house had left before you got a chance.”

By Marie Boran