Matt Smith on 17 Nov 2000 07:20:28 -0000

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[Nettime-bold] <nettime> another 2 cent fonecall

hi guys

living in north america, i can only agree with molly, cellfones r not
"rare" here, but there overall functionality is different - they have
different features than european fones and generally treated more like
appliances than as fetish objects. that i attribute to the fact, as a
earlier poster pointed out, that cellfone providers simulate a closed
system in north america. normally, when u buy a fone from the provider of
ur choice, it is hardwired to that company, meaning that if u decide to
change providers, the fone becomes useless (there r exeptions, but
roaming providers is not encouraged). at the same time, they do use GSM,
its on a slightly differen freq band than europe, so that normal fones
wont work in europe or asia - and its generally called PCS. but i digress,
what i wanted to point out is a interesting detail:
while SMS is the big thang in europe,  everybody hacking away at their
numberpad, the big deal on cellfones in north america is pager and
voicemail service, obviously 2 oldeskool things that never really caught
on in europe.

the other big reason why cellfones seem more dinky and generally less
reliable (atleast here in British Columbia) are the coverage areas. we
have a bunch of mountains all around, the overall area equivalent of Texas
and 4 million ppl living there. 2 million of these live in vancouver and
surroundings, the rest is spread out across the province in pockets of
small towns. basically, a 4 hr drive is considered close. during 3 of
those 4 hours my fone wont work, especially if im not on one of the main
highways, a frequent occurance - that makes the cellfone useless, also as
a security device. basically huge areas in north america will never have
coverage in the way europe has it literally everywhere.

so in general mobile _fones_ in north america seem more like a fad than a
lifestyle, eventhough its a BIG fad.

at the same time, when that little highfrequency transmitter stops having
the shape of a fone, loses its keypad and generally becomes _perceived_ as
something different than a fone, things will become quite interesting
again. after all, as robert adrian pointed out, the cellfone is much
closer to the radio than it is to a telefone....its just one of them cases
of "emulating the old media"


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