what is mobile phone called in different countries?

Currently there is an interesting discussion going on IXDA mailing list about different names of “mobile phones” in different countries. There are some interesting name we have come across, which is worth to share.

  • USA: Cellphone or cell, texting.
  • China: “Handy phone” (?)
  • Iran: mobile. (landlines are called “telephone”).
  • Spain: “teléfono móvil” or “móvil”.
  • Denmark: mobile phone.
  • UK: mobile or mobile phone.
  • Philipines: cellphone.
  • New Zealand: “mobile” (but cellphone is also used).
  • India: mobile. Telephone or landline for a landline.
  • Korea: “handphone”
  • Japan: keita.
  • Dutch (Netherlands): mobiele telefoon.
  • Dutch (Belgium): GSM.
  • France: “téléphone portable” or “portable” but since “portable” is used for laptop too some people call them “mobile”.
  • Germany: handy http://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Handy
  • Indonesia, they call it hand phone or simply abbreviated as “hp” pronounced “ha-pe”. “*Ha*” as if in *ha*m and “*pe*” as if in*Pe*psi. In terms of texting, they use “SMS”.
  • Turkey: “pocket phone” (“cep telefonu”)?
  • Cuba: cellular, or cell or il celular or movil
  • Argentina: movil, celular
  • Brazil: telefone celular or celular
  • Turkey: “cep telefonu” meaning “pocket phone”
  • Italy: cellulare or telefono celulare
  • Israel: Pelefon translates “wonder phone”
  • Costa Rica: “celular”

Any inputs guys??



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  2. I call it a portable phone because that’s what it is: a phone that you carry. It isn’t mobile because when I put it down it doesn’t move. It seems that only the French have got it right.


  3. For Dutch (The Netherlands, I wouldn’t know about Belgium) mobiele telefoon is correct. Quite correct. Overly correct. In general usage people say ‘mobieltje’ or ‘mobiel’.

  4. The name “Pelefon” (=Wonder phone) derives from the (than) government company, awarded the license to build the first cell system in Israel. So it’s a company’s name, which became generic, like “Frigidaire” for a refrigerator.etc.

  5. In Japan it’s actually “keitai”, short for “keitai denwa”, literally “portable telephone” – they just dropped the phone bit.

  6. Similar to Indonesia, in Malaysia they say “handphone” too.

    I’m living in France currently and I’ve never heard anyone say “texto” for a text, usually people say “SMS”. Also “portable” is very common, but equally I often hear people say just “téléphone” even when referring to the mobile one. As a British person, I call it my “phone” most of the time and not “mobile” though I do use both, so I suppose it’s similar. 🙂

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