In autumn 2003, (some?) Japanese public transport companies introduced restrictions on mobile phone use on trains: passengers are not allowed to talk (or only in designated areas).
For other phone uses, such as surfing the internet or sending messages, they are asked to enable “manner mode”, in which ring tones are replaced by vibrations and beeps accompanying key taps are turned off. Passengers are also asked not to use mobile phones near the seats reserved for the sick’n elderly, for they might harm pacemakers and such.
The effect is dramatically relaxing. Riding trains, even in Tokyo, is a calm experience. Some people talk, but very quietly. Nothing of that ubiquitous “where are you?” or “I’m on the train, I’m coming home! What’s for dinner?”-crap of five years ago.
I’m quite sure that this public serenity would not exist without text-messaging and email facilities on mobile phones. Who needs to blab “I’m coming home!” for everyone to hear when all you need to do is to hit a key, and a preconfigured message is sent to the mobile of your loved one?