Original URL: http://www.theregister.co.uk/2009/08/20/multiple_mobile_phones/

A quarter of Brits packing multiple mobiles

Hands and ears are only limit

By Bill Ray

Posted in Mobile, 20th August 2009 10:49 GMT

One in four Brits admit to owning at least two mobile phones, with respondents citing privacy, contracts and handset subsidy as motivation.

The study was carried out by Opinium Research for moneysupermarket.com and involved asking 2002 people if they owned more than one phone and, if so, why. Eight per cent reckoned a second contract was necessary to get the package they needed, while six per cent wanted to get their hands on the latest hardware and 13 per cent wanted a second phone for privacy reasons.

We're assuming that the latter category would include those issued with a phone for work, and running a second handset/contract for their personal life. Technically it's not difficult to fit two SIMs into a handset (UK manufacturer Onyx even announced its latest dual-SIM range this morning, along with plans for an Android version), but users often prefer the physical separation that multiple handsets allows, despite the mucking about with separate chargers and such that this entails.

Personally running two contracts is harder to understand; even if one must have the latest hardware then surely the never-never* is cheaper than committing to an 18-month contract.

We have enough trouble selecting one tariff to suit our needs, so the idea of using a combination to get the cheapest deal is bewildering. As James Parker of moneysupermarket.com puts it:

"A worrying aspect of the research is that... people feel they have to sign up to multiple deals to get the best value for money. There are thousands of deals available that suit all kind of user habits."

The right deal is probably out there, but with tariffs deliberately deigned to prevent comparisons it's not surprising that some people resort to extreme measures when trying to work out what suits them best. ®

* For younger, or American, readers - the "never never" is an old English tradition of agreeing to pay in installments and then hiding behind the sofa when the collector calls.