It’s Time to Remove GSM Call Prioritization from Smartphones

August 11, 2015

Smarphones are more laptops than phones.

Phone priorities

What’s more important to you? That your smartphone is with you so people call call your phone number to reach you and you can call their phone numbers to reach them. Or the fact that you can have your apps and the internet available at your fingers due to that data package you have or the WiFi you are connected to?

For me the answer is simple. I don’t really care much about my phone number anymore. It is there. It is used. There are hours a month that I am “on the phone”, but it isn’t as important as it used to be. Oftentimes, the most important conversations I conduct are done elsewhere.

This special treatment smartphones give GSM calls is getting a bit tired. The notion of call waiting, hold and switching between calls – who cares anymore?

I had a meeting the other day. As usual, it took place on my desktop machine, with a video camera attached. In the middle, the person I talked to had to answer his phone. Say he is busy. On another call he received he decided not to answer. Apparently, that meeting with me was less important than his daughter and more important than the other person.

The other day, I had a meeting. Again, on my desktop. The house phone rang (a novelty here). When it stopped ringing, my smartphone rang. Call was from an international number. I didn’t answer. The current meeting I was already having was important enough. Whoever searched for me pinged me by email as well.

Interactions happen today not only on multiple apps and services. They also happen to us on multiple devices. The concept that we have one number or service, aggregating all of our communication, and needs to handle a calling queue and be prioritized over everything else is no longer valid. It doesn’t fit our world anymore.

Time to let go of that quaint idea of GSM call prioritization. Treat its notifications and app as just another smartphone app and be done with it.

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  1. “Interactions happen today not only no multiple apps and services.”

    Seems to be a typo, I assume you wanted to type: on multiple instead of: no multiple.


    I keep thinking, maybe my phone-number should just be routed to a PBX any device I want. Same with all these other services.

    To be honest, I probably want fewer services, not more.

      1. There is an easy solution for it: federated. 😉

        Probably tied to your email address, because that is the only other universal identifier other than telephone number.

  2. So true. This issue needs the attention from Android and Iphone developers. I got really tired from GSM call prioritization.

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