Ori Goshen
Ori Goshen

April 24, 2013

How Long Will the Phone Ring?

Ring, ring, ring, ring, ring….

For some of us this could be the most annoying sound on the planet. In those few seconds it takes for the other person to answer the phone our whole lives could flash before our eyes. We could even start questioning our motivations for calling.

Should I even be making this call? What am I going to say? Will they say yes?

tawkon is a free application that will alert you when radiation from your phone spikes and suggest ways on how to minimize your exposure.

We at tawkon­ wondered if the phenomena of letting your phone ring for extended periods of time before answering was culturally/geographically based, so we did some digging. With the wealth of data we have collected on the usage behavior of mobile phone users, we were able to gain interesting insights.

We broke our analysis down by five geographic locations: Latin America, North America, Europe, Asia and Middle East/North Africa. Using these areas, we measured how long mobile users let their phones ring before answering them.

Based on our research, we found that the world-wide average time someone lets his or her phone ring before answering is 8.67 seconds.

Latin Americans tended to answer their calls significantly quicker than the rest of the world. This was obvious by the fact that the countries with the shortest ringing times were all from Latin America.

Panamanians let their phones ring 25% shorter than the worldwide average!


On the other end of the spectrum, we found that Middle Eastern/North African countries waited the longest before answering their phones. At the bottom of our list was Libya, waiting nearly 30% longer than the average.

Libyans must really have a lot of patience to wait that long for their calls to be answered!

We decided to take it a step further, so we looked at the percentage of calls that go unanswered by these same geographic areas. We found a world-wide average of 14% of all phone calls go unanswered.

It would stand to reason that, based on on our previous findings, the countries that tend to wait the longest to answer their phones are probably the most likely to not answer them all together. In fact, we found this to be true, save for a few notable exceptions.

There were 2 countries that, quite surprisingly, bucked the trend.

When it came to the amount of time people let their phones ring prior to answer, The United States sat square in the middle of the pack. However, phone users from the US were far more likely to let their calls go unanswered – a full 23% of calls went unanswered based on our research!

Libya really caught our attention. Even though we found that Libyans, by far, let their phones ring the longest before answering them; they are also the least likely to let calls go unanswered - Nearly 10% less than the worldwide average.

So what’s the moral of the story? If you are calling someone in Latin America, if they don’t answer the call in the first few seconds, chances are they aren’t answering. And if you are calling someone in the Middle East/North Africa you can expect to hear that annoying ring for quite a while.

Data is based on 11.5 Million calls from 4th Quarter 2012


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