“Can you hear me?” – the refrain familiar to anyone used to traveling on a commuter route – could start to become a thing of the past as Vodafone UK announces that it has teamed up with Virgin Trains to deliver improved mobile phone coverage within carriages. The new ‘repeater’ technology, which retransmits 2G and 3G within carriages, will be installed on all 52 of Virgin’s high speed Pendolino trains on the London to Glasgow route by November 2008 and has already improved the number of calls completed without interruption by around 60%.
But the news also comes with a warning that companies need to advise their colleagues to be more discreet – and use alternative forms of communication when discussing sensitive information. New research commissioned by Vodafone UK has found that more than 70% of all workers talk business on their mobile phones in public, with one-in-five talking about business-critical subjects such as sales leads, and 15% admit to openly discussing confidential new products or services whilst traveling. More than a quarter of workers (26%) even confessed to following up on a lead they have overheard in someone else’s phone conversation.*
“This research shows that people need to consider which contact method they use when communicating sensitive information on the move – whether that be voice, text or email,” says Mark Bond, Director of Enterprise, Vodafone UK. “Vodafone provides customers with access to many forms of communication on the move, allowing business people, when necessary, to switch to more discrete methods such as text or mobile email.”
Over half of the mobile phone users surveyed say they always talk business on the phone in public and never switch to a more private communication channel such as email or text. And only 6% of people use code names for people, places or projects when talking in public.
And it’s not just company security that employees should be aware of. The research also shows that mobile phone users admit to discussing their love lives and even sex lives, as well as those of other people, while talking on the phone in public – unwittingly compromising friends and colleagues in it in the process. While only one in five of us will discuss our own love lives – health, careers and children being more popular conversation topics – six out of ten are quite happy to discuss the private lives of our pals. Over a third 16-24 year olds will also happily share details of their sexual conquests.
* Survey of 2,053 mobile phone users (666 business users) carried out by TNS between 21.02.08 and 25.02.08.