Mobile phone etiquette around the world

People in other countries handle everyday situations in different ways, and that can make life difficult for the traveler. What might be seen as a polite action or way of behaving in one country could well be insulting in another, and it's not just customs or beliefs to be aware of.

Every nation has its own idea of what constitutes proper cell phone etiquette. In countries like the USA and UK, we know it’s not polite to do things like talk loudly on your phone in a public place, or answer a call during a movie or in a business meeting -- even if not everyone obeys these unwritten guidelines. Elsewhere around the globe, there are other rules when it comes to how and when to use the phone.

RepairLabs has come up with an infographic illustrating the many differences across the planet. As well as revealing how to answer the phone and sign off in 11 different countries, it also provides some useful details regarding phone etiquette. For example, in Thailand it’s considered rude not to answer your phone at work, and Italians usually don’t bother with voicemail.

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In India, it’s fine for you to call someone well after 10pm, and obnoxiously loud ringtones are commonplace. Chinese will often answer calls even while in the middle of a face to face conversation with someone.

Take a look at the infographic below to find out more about how people in other nations behave when it comes to phone use.

Phone-Etiquette

9 Responses to Mobile phone etiquette around the world

  1. pmdci says:

    Some of these made me laugh. Not because they're funny but because they are simply incorrect, and some 'facts' were lost in translation.

    • Bob Grant says:

      Would you mind sharing these inconsistencies with us?

      • pmdci says:

        To say that in Brazil is considered not rude to answer a call is ridiculous, let alone to generalise and say that people would in the movies, which is only NOT considered rude by those actually answering it. Also they don't say "who are you" when they answer, but "who's speaking" as they want to confirm that the person who picked up the phone at the other side of the line is who they wanted to call -- and this is only done if the person calling does not recognise the voice of the other person at the other side of the line. This is no different than the UK, where people would often say "may I speak with Mr Whatever" even though they called Mr Whatever's phone.

        To say that French people speak softly on the phone is also a gross generalisation. There are loud people everywhere and having stayed there for a good while I can assert that France is no exception.

        The issue with voicemail not being used does not seem to be something unique to Italians. I noticed the same in Brazil, Ireland and Spain, which makes me wonder if rather than being a quirk bound to a nationality, this is in fact a sign of a global trend in the times of smartphones with emails, whatzapp, fb messenger, etc.

        And these are just a few.

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  5. aires69uk says:

    Listen, just because the UK has had mobiles for longer than some other countries, don't think for a minute that there's some sort of mobile phone etiquette. There is an enormous amount of rudeness and bad manners that are displayed through the inappropriate use of mobiles. And manufacturers encourage it with external speakers, to the extent there were even 'Beats' branded speakers at one point. People use phones on the train, in the cinema, at restaurants, you name it. Young people have not learnt how to use mobiles off their parents or grand parents, because young people were the early adopters. So no one had anyone to learn from and unfortunately we have a society of I'll mannered mobile users, fact of life.

  6. Guest703 says:

    No South Africa? I'm disappointed.

    Anyway, I find it extremely rude when you call someone, they pick up and say nothing. It's common courtesy to at least say "hello" when you answer the phone.

  7. EGGM says:

    I haven't been to most of these countries, but in general the infographic seems to be quite silly and very US-centric. Not trying to put down US phone etiquette here, but having visited a couple dozen countries (mostly in Europe), as well as the US and Canada, it doesn't seem to be very different from the phone etiquette in other countries, and certainly not more polite or better in any way.

    I think it depends on the person much more than the country, even though some cultural differences exist. Here in Israel, some people consider it very rude not to answer the phone, while others believe it to be completely acceptable. Some might think it's normal to call at midnight and others think it's very rude. Some even think it's rude to call people in general before sending a text message asking if they may call (personally I like this practice very much, because it lets you not answer without appearing rude).

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