Cartoon: The ‘Missed-Call’ Mode of Communication

Missed-Call Cartoon

Increasingly, ‘missed-call’, or ‘miss-call’, or ‘miskol’ (Philippine lingo) is being used as a means of communication, not just by individuals, but also by organizations, who openly ask their customers to ‘give a missed-call.’

I did find it difficult to explain the concept of ‘missed-call’ to a friend from a Western country. His question was “How can I give you a missed call? If you don’t pick it up, you miss the call. The caller cannot control whether it is a missed call or not – only the receiver can make it a missed call or picked call.”

Anyway, here is another attempt to explain what a missed-call is.

‘A missed-call (or miss-call or miskol) is a telephone call deliberately terminated by the caller before being answered by its intended recipient. The missed-call (sometimes a sequence of missed-calls) communicates a pre-agreed message without paying the cost of a call.’

This is now being used in an organized way by large entities, for getting prospective customers to indicate their interest in the organization’s product/ service. It is being used by political parties to collect opinions. It is being used by game shows to collect answers/ votes, etc. That is creating a large load on the communications network, without any revenue for the telephone companies.

Here is some data (unverified):

  • Missed-calls make roughly 70% of the cellular phone traffic in Bangladesh
  • The Indian industry of cellphone service providers has estimated a revenue loss due to missed-calls was between 20 and 30%, in 2007

I guess eventually the cellphone operators will find some ways to recover revenues, especially for usage by organizations openly asking the public to give a missed call to a specific number.

Maybe they will create special phone numbers only for missed calls (like toll-free numbers).

Until then, let us continue using missed calls:

  • One missed-call if you read and liked this post
  • Two missed-calls if you did not like it
  • Three missed-calls if you did not read it
  • Four missed-calls if you are unaware of this post


Please feel free to share your views, experiences, and queries, using the “comments” feature.

Author: Rajesh Naik

I'm Rajesh Naik, and this is my personal website If you are interested in contacting me, I am also available on LinkedIn and I will be glad to accept your invite.

6 thoughts on “Cartoon: The ‘Missed-Call’ Mode of Communication”

  1. And we are also one of the rare countries where we also have full companies built on the premise of missed call!!!! Nice one Rajesh

  2. I never thought through the phenomenon of missed calls till I read this analysis from you. In fact, whether the call should be deemed to be “missed” or “not picked” is the moot point, because of the deliberate nature of this insidious communication.

    “Give me a missed call” is the official lingo between me and my wife whenever any one of of us misplaces our mobile.

    I had a close call with a missed call a while back because I took a call to pick it up only to realize the missed call giver had hung up.

    Here are some of my personal observations:

    1. Most of the missed call givers do it with 3 beeps.
    2. Some miserly ones “make” missed calls to get away with having to foot the bill.
    3. And then there are others who do it when they are unsure about the receiver’s convenience to pick up the call.
    4. Whosoever makes a missed call believes it is his/her fundamental right to getting a “regular call back”; Not getting a call back on a missed call is construed as an act of discourtesy, if not sheer apathy. Becomes a “relationship health indicator”.
    5. When you get a series of missed calls with pauses in between, it either indicates a sign of urgency or a sign of irritation or someone absent-mindedly tapping the mobile.
    6. Imagine doing this to your boss at midnight after a bad appraisal. And get the kick from making missed calls hurt. Missed calls can have huge nuisance value.
    7. Names starting with “A” tend to get a larger share of inadvertent missed calls due to wrong touch on the smart phone or someone’s kid toying with the device.
    8. Some calls which start out as “regular not to be missed calls” get terminated into a “missed call”, when you realize the call was mis-directed.
    9. Getting away with “making” a missed call never works with those who have a compulsive habit of picking up on the 1st ring tone.
    10. When one has to make choices (on life partners, career opportunities), and ends up making wrong ones, one tends to longingly look back on the road not taken (ah, the missed call).

    Its 10.15 pm and I am getting some missed calls from my wife. If I don’t respond, I may need to pay the call time of my life.

    This is again a great subject, Rajesh and the cartoons are getting into my art collection.

    I give ONE MISSED CALL for this one.


  3. I had booked a cab service for my pickup from the Bangalore airport tonight.

    The driver asked me to give him a missed call after I took hold of my baggage at the conveyor belt.

    How does one give a missed call to another deliberately? Why do people seek missed calls?

    1. Also, what happens if you don’t have any checked in baggage?

      Anyway, I thought the missed-call mode was passe after the call rates came down (after Jio entry into the mobile space).

      By-the-way, Jet Airways is being taken over by Reliance – a little bird tells me that the new name is likely to be “Jio Ya Maro” Airlines.

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