Saturday, December 12, 2009

The global village (Did you know 4.0)

Six in ten people around the world now have cell phone subscriptions, for an estimated 4.1 billion subscriptions globally, compared with about 1 billion in 2002.80% of the world's population live in an area where they can use mobile phones. One billion new camera phones were shipped in 2008.

Thirty nine percent of Chinese Internet users adopt cell phones to surf the Web. Students are the main strength of mobile Internet users: 43.5 percent of them use their cell phones to read online news, download music, check email and perform a variety of other tasks.

In Japan and several other countries, more people access the Web through mobile devices than fixed personal computers, whose usage and sales are declining. In recent years the cellphone industry has seen surging growth in outskirts of China and India, helped by constantly falling phone and call prices, with cellphone vendors already eyeing inroads into Africa's countryside to keep up the growth. (From Web Evangelism Bulletin quoting from Reuters / Helsinki)

There are many innovative ways to use mobiles, as a Nonprofit Technology Network article explains.

How mobile phones are changing Somalia

A November 4, 2009 Reuters news story Cheap mobile calls help more young couples elope by Abdi Sheikh relates how mobile phones are changing Somali society.

Somali courtship was different in Hassan Aden’s day. When he was a teenager, you gave the girl’s parents 11 camels and an AK-47 assault rifle as bride price and then waited respectfully.

Now, the 55-year-old said, a mobile phone service that seems to be the only thing working in the failed Horn of Africa state is helping drive a rise in elopements, pregnancies out of marriage and a steady erosion of Somalia’s conservative values.

“The youth of today enjoy modern technology, fast transportation and free-of-charge marriages,” Aden, a store owner, told Reuters at a coffee shop in the capital Mogadishu.

“Today, even reasonable boys pay just $50 bride price and a copy of the holy Koran after making the girl pregnant or seeing her secretly for months.”

In a drought-ravaged land where rebels are trying to topple a fragile government, gun battles break out almost daily and nearly 20,000 civilians have been killed since the start of 2007, cheap mobile communications are one happy diversion.

The entrepreneurial spirit of Somalis, born out of two decades of anarchy, as well as an absence of taxes, have helped domestic mobile companies thrive despite the chaos.

Many older residents say the prevalence of handsets and such cheap tariffs -- among the lowest in the world -- is making the lives of youngsters unrecognizable. A month of local calls costs about $10. International calls can go for $0.30 a minute.

The cheap calls and extended mobile network in the Horn of Africa nation make it easier for Somalis to get in touch with willing partners and arrange quick assignations. (Read the complete article)

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