Mobile phone adoption rates in developing nations among the highest in the world

Mobile phone adoption rates in developing nations among the highest in the world
In the mid 1900s, the US oversaw the installation of a national wire line telephone system, which led to the common household appliance known as the telephone. The first cellular phones were luxuries for the rich, who wanted to have access to telephone communication in cars and on the go. The industry in the US eventually evolved and cell phones have become a household item. Many people report that they no longer subscribe to a land line because the cell phone has replaced the need for a home phone. While most Americans now carry a mobile phone, many are surprised how much of the US is not covered by one or more of the national carriers. The carriers haven't been forced to develop network coverage in every corner of the country because the land line system was so widely deployed, so it's not cost efficient to provide coverage for many rural areas.

In developing countries in South America, Africa, and Asia, this isn't the case. The government and private sector don't have the financial incentive to develop wire line networks, so the most common form of communication is becoming mobile phones. In certain countries in Africa, there are companies building electric grids and dams, yet there's not a lot of push to install legacy phone networks. This has led to the rapid adoption of mobile phones. A single cellular tower is capable of delivering communications services to thousands of people, and can cost a small fraction of what it would cost to deliver wire line services to those customer.

The adoption has become extremely rapid, even in areas lacking paved roads or electricity. "The penetration of mobile phone networks in many low- and middle-income countries surpasses other infrastructure such as paved roads and electricity, and dwarfs fixed Internet deployment," says the World Health Organization. Government agencies are quickly realizing that mobile technology surpasses any other means of communication.

In developing nations, 79 percent of the population has a mobile phone, according to a 2011 report from the International Telecommunications Union. While wireless communication technology adoption is high in the US, it's that way out of convenience, not necessity or lack of alternative technologies.

Do you still have a home land line? Are you confident enough in the US mobile phone carriers' networks to rely solely on a wireless phone? While traveling, where have you been that surprised you as having great coverage in a rural or developing nation?

source: PC Magazine


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