French turn off their mobiles during meals, Chinese call and hang up after a few seconds while Spanish are reluctant to use voicemail. But when it comes to Indians, it is the missed call they are most (in)famous for.
The Indian mobile user seems to have mastered the art of missed calls - and actually to communicate without answering the calls! While cellphone operators are reluctant to give the exact share of missed calls, according to industry estimates, it is somewhere around 20-25%.
Writes Nick Gray in a Moblog (mobile blog) — in India ‘missed calls’ were very popular, as a way to say, “I’m thinking about you” or “call me back.” I would often hear someone say, “I’ll send you a missed call when we get there - see you soon.”
Kobita Desai, principal telecom analyst, Gartner, says “Users tend to resort to giving missed calls when the message to be conveyed is just to make an announcement of one’s presence or somewhat in those lines.”
“No doubt mobile tariffs are quite low and the price differential with fixed is very narrow. However, that is not necessarily the case with prepaid tariff which is still significantly higher with a shorter pulse rate,” she says. Almost 75% of mobile users have prepaid connections, with calls being billed at 60 seconds whereas fixed calls are billed at 180 seconds.
But when it comes to ‘Who loses and who gains on missed calls’, Ms Desai says, “It would depend on where the call originates from.” But for the customer, it’s all about money. Who needs etiquette if it costs you money!