Mobile Phone Etiquette in Nigeria: The Case of Calabar Municipality, Nigeria

Mobile Phone Etiquette in Nigeria: The Case of Calabar Municipality, Nigeria

Aniebiet I. Ntui (University of Calabar, Nigeria) and Nkoyo B. Edem (University of Calabar, Nigeria)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-61520-847-0.ch032
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There has been tremendous growth in the mobile telephony industry in Nigeria in recent years. This evolving technology has given rise to concerns over the etiquette governing mobile phone usage. This study was undertaken to better understand levels of knowledge of Nigerians about etiquettes of mobile phone usage. Data were collected through interviews, direct observations and questionnaire from 861 randomly selected mobile phone users residing in diverse streets of Calabar municipality. The study revealed that the levels of knowledge of Nigerians about etiquette of mobile phone usage is high but users refuse to conform; that the etiquette that should be up held include volume of the ringing tone should be low, pleasant and not annoy others; mobile phones are not used while driving. The implication of is that non compliance with mobile phone etiquettes poses a serious threat and distraction to others. Based on the findings, recommendations which would increase levels of knowledge of and compliance with the etiquette of mobile phone usage in Nigeria were set forth.
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ICT is any technology that enables electronic capture, process, and transmit information. In recent years a ‘new’ ICT, the mobile phones have become available to a growing number of people worldwide. Today, mobile phones are the primary form of telecommunication in most emerging economies (Bell 2005). Mobile phones are fast becoming indispensable in the modern society and has become the most widely used and diverse piece of technological equipment, surpassing fixed line telephone, radio or television. Mobile phones represent the biggest breakthrough in the new digital infrastructures of developing nations.

The International Telecommunication Union (2009) release reveals an explosion in mobile phone use globally, much of which has been driven by growth in the developing world. According to the report, subscriptions now stand at 4.1bn worldwide around 61% penetration (at the end 2008) up from 1bn in 2002. Developing countries account for about two-thirds of mobile phones in use compared to less than half in 2002, making mobile phones the first telecommunications technology in history to have more users in developing countries than in the developed world. Nowhere is the effect more dramatic than in Africa, where mobile technology often represents the first modern infrastructure of any kind.The growth of mobile phone use in developing countries is indeed explosive. In Africa 28 per cent of the population now has a mobile phone, compared to just two per cent in 2000. There has been a clear shift to mobile telephony.

According to a report in “This Day” Newspaper(June 18, 2008), an estimated 68.4 million Nigerians currently own mobile phones and a significant majority of non owners aspire to buy one in the near future because of widely available content and attractive services offered by mobile phone operators. The results posted on the website of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) also showed that Global system for mobile communications (GSM) subscriber base has increased to 47,205,063 million and the teledensity ratio to 33.72% as at March, 2008. There is an alarming increase of over two million between January and March 2008. A breakdown of the data showed that, GSM recorded 43, 786,542 active lines, mobile Code division multiple access (CDMA), 567,185 and fixed wired/wireless 1,545,984. The total installed capacity has also increased to 88,471,789 with mobile GSM having the highest of 79,625,308, mobile CDMA 3, 170,000, and fixed wired/wireless 5,676,481. Nigeria’s teledensity has risen dramatically from 0.73% in 2001 to 33.72% in 2008, exceeding the International Telecommunication Union’s minimum recommendation of 1%. (See Table 1 showing the subscriber information from Year 2001 – March 2008 and Figure 1 showing Nigeria’s teledensity from 2001 to April 2008). Mobile phone users extend beyond what the number of subscriptions suggests as there is a culture of sharing communication tools. That means that whilst a mobile phone may belong to a single person, it is often shared among members of a local community (Goodman, 2007).

Key Terms in this Chapter

Information and Communication Technologies: (ICT): Any technology that enables electronic capture, processing, and transmission of information. In recent years a ‘new’ ICT, the mobile phones have become available to a growing number of people worldwide.

Calabar: Is a city in South-South zone of Nigeria known throughout as “The Tourist Destination”. It is the capital town, in the densely populated state of Cross River. The town is situated at the end of coastal highway of Itu.

Telecommunication: Is passage of information by electronically transmitted waves and this includes mobile phone.

Nigeria: Is located within the western coast of Africa, slightly north of the Equator, with a land area of approximately 923,800square kilometers. The population is estimated to be about 140million (2006), making Nigeria the most populous African nation. Approximately 30% of the inhabitants live in the towns and cities and the others in rural areas, some at great distances from the nearest urban areas. Until recently, communication was a vexing problem for the people scattered across this land. People working in urban areas, far from the rural villages where they were born and raised, might see their families once a year during their annual vacations, after long, arduous and expensive trips home. Between such visits they previously depended on postal communication or messages carried by friends and family.

Developing Country: A term generally used to describe a nation with a low level of material well being. There is no single internationally-recognized definition of developing country, as levels of development may vary widely within so-called developing countries, with some developing countries having high average standards of livingThe World Bank considers all low- and middle- income countries as “developing”. In its most recent classification, economies are divided using 2008 Gross National Income per capita. In 2008, countries with GNI per capita below US$11,905 were considered developing

Mobile Phone Etiquette: Entails following simple guidelines when using a mobile phone for safety and security reasons and to create a good environment for working and being in.

Mobile Phone: A long-range, electronic device used for mobile telecommunications (mobile telephony, text messaging or data transmission) over a cellular network of specialized base stations known as cell sites. In addition to the standard voice function, current mobile phones may support many additional services, and accessories, such as SMS for text messaging, email, packet switching for access to the Internet.

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