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22 October, 2004

Uncertainty uncertain

The BBC claims to report that according to research sponsored by Nokia, "home phones face an uncertain future" - fixed line home phones could become scarce as more people use a mobile phone for every call they make or take.

Research sponsored by Nokia.  The mobile phone manufacturer.  Hello!  What conclusions should one expect from such a report?  I don't doubt the raw results, collected by pollsters Mori, but subsequent interpretation for publication is rather likely to favour the client's intended message.

I say 'claims to report' because the sensationalist first couple of paragraphs aren't entirely supported by statements made later in the same article, such as that:

Home phones were used for longer calls but conversations on mobiles tended to be shorter, between mobiles and to friends.

In the UK 69% of those questioned said they turned to their fixed phone because it was still cheaper to use than a mobile.

However, when pressed few could say with accuracy how tariffs on fixed and mobile phones compared.

I don't even see how that final statement can be interpreted as a sign that fixed line usage is bound to cease, but that... extrapolation is made in the article.

The sidebar of the piece offers a quick (unscientific) poll of readers, which at the time of writing suggests that 59.25% of people responding (admittedly, a self-selecting sample) would not give up their landline phones for mobiles.

Needless to say, I'm one of them.

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