Live: Samsung Unpacked Live Updates Galaxy S23 Ultra First Look Apple's iOS 16.3 Release 9 Ways to Celebrate Black History Month Best Indoor Plants HomePod 2nd-Gen Review 12 Best Cardio Workouts Salami, Sausage Recalled
Want CNET to notify you of price drops and the latest stories?
No, thank you

Cell phone hangs up on drunken dialers

Australian cell phone provider allows users to block access to specific numbers--before making drunken calls that they will regret.

Ever woken up one morning with a raging hangover that was promptly worsened by the memory of the drunken cell phone call to the ex at 3 a.m.?

If the memory is not painful enough, the aftermath--potentially involving apologies, restraining orders, a "friendly visit" from the ex's new partner (who is probably either a black belt in Zen Do Kai or a leading underworld figure) and sundry other humiliations--adds to the agony.

Amid the flurry of capped plans, bundling and discounting characterizing the pre-Christmas mobile marketplace, Australia's Virgin Mobile has sought to differentiate itself with a service tailored to help people avoid making those embarrassing drunken calls.

A survey of 409 people by Virgin Mobile, a joint venture of The Virgin Group and Optus, found 95 percent made drunken phone calls. Of those calls, 30 percent were to ex-partners, 19 percent to current partners, and 36 percent to other people, including their bosses.

The company said that, beginning Wednesday, Virgin Mobile customers could dial 333 plus a phone number they don't want to call when drunk. Virgin Mobile would--for a 25-cent fee--stop all calls to that number by blacklisting it until 6 a.m. the following day.

The move comes amid an intensifying price war between mobile players to secure customers, exemplified Tuesday by a flurry of announcements. Virgin is launching a new AU$45 (about $35) monthly cap that includes up to AU$200 (about $155) worth of mobile services, while rival Vodafone also launched a new AU$49 (about $38) cap that would allow customers to use up to AU$230 (about $178) worth of services.

For its part, Optus touted a service allowing its customers to call overseas on their mobiles for the cost of a local call.

Iain Ferguson of ZDNet Australia reported from Sydney.