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ICIA rejects calls to block phone use in cinemas

Irish mobecos say change of behaviour needed

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The mobile phone industry has rejected calls to block the use of mobile phones in cinemas and theatres, describing the idea as inappropriate and impractical.

Irish Cellular Industry Association (ICIA) director Tommy McCabe described the use of mobile phones in places like theatres as a behavioural issue, and one that should be addressed through education.

"While appreciating the concerns of those parties that are affected by the inappropriate use of mobile phones, it is the ICIA's view that the use of jammers or interceptors would be a drastic response, disproportionate to the issues identified," McCabe said.

"The use of interceptors would generate significantly greater concerns for users, venues and operators - particularly where public safety is concerned."

Although the problem of mobile phones being used in inappropriate places is a nuisance, it seems that blocking their use would create even more headaches. The technology is intended to block all calls apart from emergency calls.

McCabe said the use of interceptors would necessitate "significant network re-design" to limit the use of phones in the venues, but that there was no guarantee it would work completely, nor could it guarantee the restrictions would not affect those in the surrounding area.

ComReg recently came under fire by one of Ireland's largest cinema groups for its ruling that cinemas wishing to install mobile phone interceptors would require the consent of the mobile operators.

McCabe also pointed out that mobile phones have the ability to be switched to silent mode, allowing parents to stay in contact with babysitters, for example, without disturbing those around them.

The ICIA is an alliance of the Irish mobile operators and handset manufacturer Nokia.

Copyright © 2006, ENN

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