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Nokia campaign aims to civilize cell phone users

The city of San Diego and the cell phone maker launch a campaign dedicated to encouraging mobile phone users to be more respectful of their surroundings.

SAN DIEGO--Turn off your ringers, please. It's Cell Phone Courtesy Week.

Brought to the citizens of San Diego by cell phone maker Nokia, this week is dedicated to encouraging the increasingly unmindful corps of cell phone users to be more respectful of their surroundings and those around them.

The promotion is part of a growing movement to rein in rogue cell phone users, a group that continues to grow in number and offense, according to some.

There are approximately 94 million people using cell phones in the United States, or one out of three Americans, according to Nokia.

The skyrocketing number of mobile phone users, driven in part by falling prices for phones and service, along with improvements in network coverage and quality, has led to complaints about inappropriate calling while driving, during performances, in classrooms, libraries, museums and restaurants.

Things have gotten so bad that during this month's Wimbledon tennis tournament, which has a reputation as a bastion of British civility, umpires had to repeatedly request that spectators--including celebrities and a box reserved for England's royal family--turn their cell phones and beepers off to avoid distracting the players.

A growing number of restaurants have designated themselves cell phone-free zones, and a few areas have proposed banning cell phone usage while driving.

The city of San Diego and Finnish-based Nokia, which employs 600 people in its Product Creation Center in San Diego, launched the courtesy campaign today. Consisting primarily of identifying specific "Quiet Zones" where cell phones are not welcome, Cell Phone Courtesy Week was brought about in part by overwhelming public demand, according to San Diego Mayor Susan Golding.