Original URL: http://www.theregister.co.uk/2001/01/15/bt_urges_uk_not/

BT urges UK not to use mobiles

Big fat ad campaign

By Kieren McCarthy

Posted in Data Networking, 15th January 2001 12:20 GMT

BT has launched an ad campaign slagging off mobile phones and suggesting that the Great British Public goes back to using pay phones. No, honestly, it has.

Unsurprisingly, BT informs those that ask that the rocketing use of mobiles has slashed income from public call boxes. "Slashed" is the right word because we suspect one reason people prefer using a mobile is that they don't need to stand in a puddle of urine while making calls. Mobiles being mobile is also an advantage.

"Mobile phones may be getting lighter, but they can still be heavy on the pocket." So say the new ads. And they're right. Perhaps this is why BT doubled the minimum charge of public call boxes a couple of months ago from 10p to 20p - to try to keep it in line with mobiles.

We can see the campaign being a great success. It will only be a matter of weeks before people decide that rather than check on their friend's whereabouts while sitting in the pub, they will down their pint, go outside, walk up and down various roads til they find a phone box. Then they'll walk up and down until they find one that works. Then they'll lose 30p because they only have a 50p in their pocket and call their mate on his mobile, now sitting in the pub.

Folk have already pointed out the possible conflict of interests here. What with BT also owning the number two UK mobile company, BT Cellnet. But then as anyone that knows BT will tell you, the different elements of the company have never had any effect on each other, so why should they now?

We're all for anti-mobile advertising. In fact, the sooner BT launches a "Health warning: Mobiles cause brain tumours" ad, the better.

Regarding this, the latest study into mobiles and cancer (Germany) says - yes, they do. So that means the next one has to be a "no". ®