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MOBILE PHONES

Sweden’s mobile phone-free day is a relic, but still calls for consideration

Saturday saw Sweden’s annual Mobile-Free Day, an initiative which began in 2002 in an attempt to give people peace and quiet and a break from calls and texts.

Sweden’s mobile phone-free day is a relic, but still calls for consideration
Photo: tatsianama/Depositphotos

But the day has fallen from public awareness in more recent years.

“(Using mobiles) is so integrated into our daily lives, but that doesn’t mean it always will be in future,” said Jonas Engman, ethnologist at the Nordic Museum in Stockholm.

Sweden introduced a mobile phone-free day in 2002, encouraging the public to turn off their cells in an effort to protect the general audio environment.

As such, the roots of the day go back to the beginning of the mobile era, in which everybody having a device in their pockets was still a relatively new phenomenon.

Nine out of ten people in Sweden currently own a mobile telephone, according to a 2018 study. Of those, between 88 and 96 percent use their phones daily.

That falls to 74 percent for the 56-65 years age group, and 62 percent for people aged 66-75.

“There’s a discussion in society as to whether it’s beneficial to keep looking at and checking one’s mobile phone all the time. I think it’s part of everyday life for people in urban areas, and that is not actually a problem” Engman said.

Living without a mobile is something most people should be able to do, the researcher said, even if they might not be prepared to take on the challenge without warning — even just for a single day.

“I think there are many people, not just children and young people, but many generations who find it hard to put their phones down. So it’s good that we (still) have this day to highlight this,” he said.

READ ALSO: Five things to remember when getting a mobile phone in Sweden

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MOBILE PHONES

Sony Ericsson ends 2011 with massive loss

Mobile phone manufacturer Sony Ericsson said Thursday that intense competition hit fourth quarter sales hard and forced the company to post a loss of €247 million ($318 million) for the year.

Sony Ericsson ends 2011 with massive loss

Sales in the final quarter dropped to €1.29 billion, a decline of 18.8 percent from €1.59 billion the previous quarter and of 15.7 percent from €1.53 billion in the fourth quarter of 2010.

“Our fourth quarter results reflected intense competition, unfavourable macroeconomic conditions and the effects of a natural disaster in Thailand this quarter,” chief executive Bert Nordberg said in a statement.

Sales dropped 17.2 percent overall in 2011.

Restructuring charges of €93 million in the final quarter contributed to the poor results, but even excluding those charges operating margin plunged to minus 10 percent.

“Fourth quarter sales were negatively impacted by macroeconomic challenges in advanced economies contributing to weaker holiday sales, and certain component shortages from the flooding in Thailand in late October and early November 2011,” the company said.

“In spite of these challenges, throughout 2011 we’ve shifted our business from feature phones to smartphones, and our Android-based smartphone sales in the quarter increased by 65 percent year-on-year,” Nordberg said.

The number of units shipped in the fourth quarter dropped to 9.0 million however, from 9.5 million in the third quarter and 11.2 million in the final quarter of 2010.

The average selling price declined to €143 in the fourth quarter of 2011 from the €166 in the third quarter.

Sony Ericsson was created in 2001, combining the then unprofitable handset operations of Swedish telecom equipment maker Ericsson and Japanese consumer electronic maker Sony to eventually become the sixth-biggest player in the global market for mobile phone handsets.

But in October, the companies announced they were ending the decade-old join venture, with Sony planning to buy Ericsson’s 50 percent stake in Sony Ericsson for €1.05 billion.

Because the sale hasn’t yet officially been completed – the deal is expected to be completed by late January or February – Sony Ericsson’s losses have also taken a 1.1 billion kronor ($161 million) bite out of Ericsson’s fourth quarter profits.

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