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The Death of Voice: Mobile phone calls now 50 per cent shorter

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Vodafone reckons the average duration of phone calls on its network has halved in five years. People now talk for around one minute and forty seconds, rather than over three minutes.

The figure was calculated from both business and consumer customer data in fifteen main Vodafone markets, the network's business services director Kenneth De Spiegeleire told us.

In some less mature markets the duration of a mobile voice call followed in an inverse relationship to its cost. As the cost of talking fell, people talked more - no surprise there. But not in all markets. One study in Kenya showed no increase in phone call length between 2002 and 2007 - people used their mobiles more, but used them to text.

The duration of fixed line phone calls has been falling consistently for some years. Now voice appears to be doing the same. Phone-in polls such as the Strictly ballot encourage short calls. We shall try and find more.

Shorter phone calls are good news for the operator, of course, provided you're on a postpay plan. Once you've paid your fee, you're simply using contested resources - which are even more contested with the explosion of mobile data.

According to Ofcom last year was the first when the volume of text messaging fell in the UK. With the range of messaging alternatives on offer to the mobile user today - IM, Skype, Facebook, Twitter, and OTT services such as WhatsApp - it's surprising it took so long. ®

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