Archives for the category: Mobile phone projects - Third World
January 18, 2008
Along with the internet, with which the mobile phone network is rapidly merging, this is the most astonishing technology story of our time, and one that has the power to revolutionise access to information across the developing world. The BBC reports.
... "It's time that we recognize that for the majority of the world's population, and for the foreseeable future, the cell phone is the computer, and it will be the portal to the internet, and the communications tool, and the schoolbook, and the vaccination record, and the family album, and many other things, just as soon as someone, somewhere, sits down and writes the software that allows these functions to be performed."
emily | 8:34 AM | permalink
January 10, 2008
BlackBerry smartphones will be available for the first time in Bangladesh, providing Grameenphone's customers with access to a wide range of mobile applications, including email, browsing, messaging, phone, organizer, multimedia and a wide range of other business and lifestyle applications. DesignTaxi reports.
Anders Jensen, CEO at Grameenphone said: “The BlackBerry platform is the gold standard in mobility for business users around the world. We are proud to be the first mobile operator launching the BlackBerry platform in Bangladesh, bringing in the next level of global connectivity for businesses.”
emily | 11:35 AM | permalink
December 23, 2007
While charging our mobile phones is the least of our concerns, there is a small village in India where people have to walk about 20 kilometers every single day just to charge their mobile phones. Mobile Weblog reports.
"What is more interesting in this news covered IBNLive is the popularity of mobile phones despite the absence of electricity. Talk about mobile revolution at its finest.
For more than 50 years this village named Karaj in the Sagar district of Madhya Pradesh has no electricity and no decent roads, causing many people to get sick during the monsoons. Mobile phones have given the people in this powerless village entertainment and power to connect with their family and close friends."
Related: - Romania. Five mile walk to recharge phones
emily | 9:37 AM | permalink
December 13, 2007
Photo taken in Uganda last week by favorite Ken Banks, founder of Kiwanja.net "
emily | 7:53 AM | permalink
December 10, 2007
Embattled Indian farmers facing the threat of drought, pestilence and cyclonic storms are turning to mobile telephones to give them advance warning of livelihood-threatening disasters which could lie ahead. The Telegraph reports.
"Although much of Indian agriculture still relies on the bullock and the buffalo, the use of mobile phones to warn of dangers and share market information is promising to revolutionize life for many.
In a scheme set up by India’s equivalent of Oxbridge - the Indian Institute of Technology in Mumbai - farmers are using SMS messages to receive alerts and ask questions of experts and colleagues.
Called "aAQUA">aAQUA" - short for "almost all questions answered" - the scheme enables farmers to enquire about everything from projected rainfall patterns, disease forecasts for plants and animals and to how to milk buffaloes more efficiently."
emily | 6:53 PM | permalink
November 23, 2007
Ecuador has contacted foreign mobile firms to negotiate new contracts that would impose higher penalties over operational errors and push companies to create a fund that would provide cell phone service to the poor, a government official said on Thursday.
emily | 10:10 AM | permalink
November 17, 2007
A study conducted by two students from Upsalla University, Sweden, in collaboration with the Dar es Salaam Institute of Technology (DIT), has concluded that the use of mobile phones has improved the livelihood of fishermen in Tanzania, reports All Africa.
-- According to the study, the fishermen, used to spending long hours away from family and friends now find it easier to stay in touch as they venture into the sea.
-- The researchers say that the fishermen call their friends already at sea for the weather forecast and no longer rely on the Meteorological Department which in most cases is inaccurate.
-- The fisherfolk also communicate with one another, giving tips on where to get the best catch.
-- Mobile phones also come in handy during cases of emergency. Now fishermen can simply dial the emergency numbers on their cell phones or simply call their friends.
-- Most of all, fishermen are now using mobile phones to gather market information and co-ordinate pickup for their catch, known to be a highly perishable commodity.
-- Customers willing to buy fish simply call the fishermen to place their orders. With this empowerment, the supply chain has now improved.
But it has not been smooth sailing either. Loss of a phone consequently means loss of business. The researchers also suggest that number portability, which allows subscribers to retain their phone numbers across the networks, could alleviate this problem."
Photo from Vagabonding .
emily | 8:53 AM | permalink
November 15, 2007
In a village called Kkonkoma, on the roof of a small house there is an aerial. It is a mobile phone antenna for a home-based village telephone service run by 24-year-old entrepreneur Joseph Ssesanga and his family. [via the BBC]
Neighbours make telephone calls from his house rather than walk down the dirt track to the nearest public telephone some five kilometres away.
This is the Village Phone-model, which provides a business in a box. With loans, budding entrepreneurs can buy a mobile phone, a car battery to charge it, and a booster antenna that can pick up signals from base stations situated up to 25 kilometres away.
The handset is loaded with software that tracks revenues from every call.
The loan providers, so-called microfinance institutions, take on the task of ordering the equipment and transporting it to those who cannot afford to travel long distances. "
emily | 2:01 PM | permalink
October 30, 2007
At the Connect Africa summit, the GSM Association says that the mobile industry plans to invest more than $50 billion in sub-Saharan Africa over the next five years to provide more than 90% of the population with mobile coverage.
[via Cellular News]
emily | 10:20 AM | permalink
October 8, 2007
An interesting article from the FT, on flashing in Kenya, something related to cell phones and that has nothing to do with indecent exposure.
"To flash is to call a mobile and hang up before the call is answered, a cost-free way of letting the owner know you want to be called back. People do it because they are low on pre-paid credit, or because they think the other person has a better reason to pay for the conversation.
t is a habit borne of poverty in an African country where gross national income per capita is $530 a year and 46 per cent of its 36m people live on less than a dollar a day.
But flashing, which congests the network, bothers Mr Joseph so much that, for no charge, customers can now send a standardised text message that reads: “Please call me. Thank you.”
“It gets people off our network to allow other people to make calls that will mean revenue for us,” says the chief executive."
Related article: - Africa is in the grip of a mobile phone revolution
emily | 8:52 PM | permalink
September 26, 2007
India's legion of self-employed, which comprises half the workforce, has benefited the most from India's mobile phone market, the world's fastest growing.
"Maids, cooks, autorickshaw drivers and construction workers have bought mobile phones even on incomes as low as 100 dollars per month.
"It's no longer a status symbol. It is increasingly becoming a necessity like water and electricity," Arvind Singhal, the chairman of retail consulting firm KSA Technopak said.
Now when a carpenter sticks up advertisements at a local grocery to find business "he has a mobile office" where people can call him, he said.
Despite the surge in mobile users, the growth is still largely confined to cities. A huge market in rural areas, where nearly 70 percent of India's 1.1 billion population lives, remains untapped.
Telephone penetration in urban India is around 25 per 100 people but just 1.6 per 100 in rural areas.
The country's total "teledensity" -- the number of people owning a telephone out of every 100 people -- also remains low at 21.20 percent in August, according to official data.
But mobile phone companies are rolling out coverage to rural and remote areas to increase their clients.
"Landline networks are not very effective in many of these places. So, mobile phones are a big necessity in rural areas," Singhal said. "It's not an indicator of wealth any more. A mobile phone is now a tool that is likely to improve productivity dramatically."
emily | 8:51 AM | permalink
September 10, 2007
Nearly half a million people, described by the UN as "the poorest of the poor", will soon be able to make mobile calls. The BBC reports.
"As part of a UN programme to tackle poverty in rural Africa, 79 villages across 10 African countries will be hooked up to cellular networks.
It is hoped that the connections will help improve healthcare and education, as well as boosting the local economy.
A 2005 study showed that an increase of 10 mobile phones per 100 people could increase GDP growth by 0.6%.
The plan to extend the mobile network to people that would not normally be considered a priority for mobile phone firms is part of the UN Millennium Villages program."
[via SMSText News ]
emily | 8:57 PM | permalink
September 3, 2007
Ken Banks, one of textually's favorite people, founder of Kiwanja.net - where technology meets anthropology, conservation and development - is in Uganda at the moment doing workin with Grameen.
In his own words:
"During my spare time I’ve been snapping photos of various mobile-related things, and thought that since you liked my earlier ones of South African mobile phone shops, you might like these.
-- The first one is of a car battery converted to charge mobile phones, in a village not far outside Kampala. Very clever in a place where electricity isn’t guaranteed.
It’s funny hearing people ask for bigger phones, rather than back home when all we seem to want is smaller and smaller things.
More pictures in Kiwanja.net mobile gallery.
Thank you Ken!
emily | 5:51 PM | permalink
August 21, 2007
Spotted on Jan Chipchase' Jan Future Perfect blog, a Nokia cell phone kiosk in Cairo.
emily | 4:26 PM | permalink
July 3, 2007
emily | 7:52 AM | permalink
July 2, 2007
According to AllAfrica, cell phones are breaking mariages in Kenya.
"An opinion poll commissioned by the Sunday Nation reveals that, for many a couple, spying on each other has become a fulltime pre-occupation. Many relationships are falling apart courtesy of the cell phone.
Psychologists, marriage counsellors and the church have their hands full trying to restore harmony among couples whose marriages have been put to the test by a spouse's tendency to scroll through the partner's text messages.
The poll shows that 47.3 per cent of the respondents have been actively engaged in domestic espionage in the last three months.
"Anybody could answer the landline including junior. This meant a lady having a relationship with a married man would be plainly insane to call him at home.
With mobile phone, things are fast getting different. A woman seated opposite her husband on the dinner table could be busy texting, "Darling, I'm really missing you..." to some fellow across town.
Mrs Tabitha Murungu, a counsellor with Hearts of Gold, says the coming of the mobile phone has seen an upsurge in clients. They are married and their problems are related to the mobile phone.
Image of a woman texting from MobileAfrica
emily | 5:38 PM | permalink
June 4, 2007
Computer scientists at Swansea University are working on a collaborative project that is using new mobile phone technologies to help villagers in India record and share their stories and experiences. innovations repor reports.
"The StoryBank project is providing people in the Indian village of Budikote, 100km from Bangalore, with mobile devices that allow them to make videos, record sound and take photographs, and then edit the material into short films or “stories”.
Dr Matt Jones, who manages the project at Swansea University, said: “The people of Budikote have a strong tradition of visual and oral history, so we were interested in how we could develop digital technology to enable them to communicate their stories in new ways.”
Stories created by the villagers can be “gifted” to the StoryBank by using wireless connections from their mobile devices and uploading videos and pictures to the system. In the same way, users can download stories from the StoryBank to their mobiles.
“The mobile phone digital story authoring application we have developed is giving members of this isolated Indian community a new, lasting record of individual stories, shared experiences and history. The digital library will have a wide reach and should be a useful resource for the whole community,” said Dr Matt Jones, who is based in the Future Interaction Technology Laboratory at Swansea University’s Department of Computer Science."
The 18-month, EPSRC-funded project, worth over £400,000, ends in February 2008.
emily | 5:41 PM | permalink
May 21, 2007
According to Reuters, British Vodafone Group unveiled two new own-branded mobile handsets it plans to sell for $25 to $45 to boost sales in developing economies of Asia and Africa.
"The world's biggest mobile operator by sales, increasingly reliant on developing markets to drive growth, said it expected to sell over a million of the two phones within a year."
emily | 6:58 PM | permalink
May 14, 2007
Fishermen's profits rose by 8% on average and consumer prices fell by 4% on average. Higher profits meant the phones typically paid for themselves within two months. And the benefits are enduring, rather than one-off. All of this, says Mr Jensen, shows the importance of the free flow of information to ensure that markets work efficiently. Information makes markets work, and markets improve welfare, he concludes.
... One criticism levelled at such studies, says Mr Waverman, is that it is difficult to tell if mobile phones are promoting growth, or growth is promoting the adoption of mobile phones, as people become able to afford them.
But detailed analyses of micro-market data like Mr Jensen's, he says, show how phones really do make people better off.
Furthermore, says Mr Jensen, phones do this without the need for government intervention. Mobile-phone networks are built by private companies, not governments or charities, and are economically self-sustaining.
Mobile operators build and run them because they make a profit doing so, and fishermen, carpenters and porters are willing to pay for the service because it increases their profits. The resulting welfare gains are indicated by the profitability of both the operators and their customers, he suggests.
All governments have to do is issue licences to operators, establish a clear and transparent regulatory framework and then wait for the phones to work their economic magic".
emily | 7:53 AM | permalink
May 13, 2007
Alongside their sales trek through India's countryside in Vans, Nokia will be renting rail time to promote their products in the New Dehli area, reports Gizmodo.
"Nokia hopes to target rural customers with their lower-end products by parking their train in stations like a Bookmobile. And if this model is successful, Nokia is open to operating their own commuter trains."
-- For the rural poor, cellphones come calling - Nokia has sent two dozen vans staffed with sales representatives on continuous six-month treks through India's countryside. Their task is to explain why anyone in a small farming community would want a mobile phone in the first place, and a Nokia in particular.
emily | 8:45 AM | permalink
Motorola has launched its global 'Motopower' solar recharge project in Kampala.
"Through the Motopower program women are given the opportunity to run their own businesses, learn valuable entrepreneurial skill and generate a positive income," Nikesh Patel, the senior sales director for Africa, said at the launch.
Patel said the process had started to select 50 women to spearhead the project to run their own Motopower kiosks.
The kiosks will offer free, solar-powered mobile phone recharge services."
emily | 8:09 AM | permalink
May 9, 2007
"Java will play a central role in bringing the Internet to the planet," Chief Executive Jonathan Schwartz said during a news conference. "It will be the software to build the devices to bridge the digital divide."
In a brief speech at the show, Schwartz indicated he believed the Java-powered mobile phones could be sold for $30 to $50 apiece."
emily | 8:07 AM | permalink
May 6, 2007
Nokia has sent two dozen vans staffed with sales representatives on continuous six-month treks through India's countryside. The IHT reports.
"The sales reps don't take orders and they don't sell phones; instead, their task is to explain why anyone in a small farming community would want a mobile phone in the first place, and a Nokia in particular.
"The object is to establish the concept of phones, and the need for phones," said Suresh Sundaram, Nokia's national retail marketing manager in India, who was in Mundawar on Friday with the van.
The vehicle resembles the trucks that carry carnival games to country fairs, but with cellphones behind glass instead of balloons and darts. When it rolls into a small village, it creates a circus-like spectacle starting with a skit about why mobile phones are necessary. Then the van's canopies unfurl as Bollywood music blasts from the speakers."
Picture from related article in Business Week
emily | 3:43 PM | permalink
April 17, 2007
Pictures of South African phone shops. [via Kiwanja.net]
emily | 10:54 AM | permalink
April 1, 2007
"For doing her job, Sukhriya Hassani gets hassled by goons, who call her "prostitute" and threaten to shut down her business. Her sin: doing business with men. But the 25-year-old widow needs the $300 a month she earns--a lavish income in Afghanistan--by renting out cellular phone service by the call minute (10 cents for domestic, 45 for international). Her family of eight depends on her.
Hassani is one of 50 Afghan women who earn such commissions by working for a cell company called Roshan ("light" in Dari and Pashto). It is one of Afghanistan's largest private businesses, with 850 employees, 23% of them women. The company has spread across 175 cities and villages and provide mobile phone service to 1.2 million customers--half the market.
... Roshan is committed to putting women to work, but the very notion is so radical here that recruiters often don't even pay a visit to a family without getting a referral first. Even then, male Roshan managers deal with the father, the husband or a son. To clinch the deal the recruiters invite the patriarchs to meet office managers and see for themselves that Roshan is a respectable business."
emily | 12:21 PM | permalink
March 20, 2007
This a documentary done by
A descriptive blurb says "It took a year of wrangling to get permission to film inside Iran." The result looks pretty amazing.
emily | 11:44 AM | permalink
March 15, 2007
Mobile communication is revolutionizing economic and social life in rural India, spawning a wave of local entrepreneurs and creating greater access to social services according to a new study by The Center for Knowledge Societies (CKS) commissioned by Nokia. [via IndiaPRWire via IFTF's Future Now]
The research identifies seven major service sectors including transport, finance and healthcare that could be radically transformed through mobile technologies.
Finding cost-effective, reliable, and safe ways to transport goods and services to market is a major problem for small businesses in rural communities. Public transport is not available in 45% of villages in India, and only 1% of Indian households own a vehicle. Mobile communication could be used to create and co-ordinate car sharing schemes amongst villages, and provide real-time information about public transport services and the ability to make request stops.
Small businesses in rural areas often have to travel significant distances to markets or other places they can distribute their goods, and cannot make arrangements in advance with buyers or other sellers. Mobile phones could significantly change the logistical issues faced by rural traders and home entrepreneurs, by affording mobile-based ordering systems, delivery requests, and the ability to make more reliable and advance arrangements with business partners or clients.
Mobile phones are already being used in rural areas as a tool for financial transactions by swapping airtime for goods and services. The study encourages mobile networks and financial services institutions to work together to test and develop new financial services in this area and address how people can transfer these credits into cash.
New mobile services in this area could better connect rural communities, creating networks to share and discuss health information and advice.
Accessing information about public services remains a major challenge for many rural communities. Mobile phones provide a new platform through which rural communities will be able to access government information and services, using text, data, and audio browsing techniques.
The study looks at a range of educational services that could be provided via mobiles to children in remote villages and communities, particularly where PCs or connections to the internet are not available. Mobile phones could serve as an essential means for children to become connected to one another for educational and peer-learning activities. These are particularly important for communities that are either nomadic or transitional on account of displacements due to a natural disaster or for other reasons.
While the mainstream entertainment industry is already well aware of the emerging potential of mobile media, there are also many opportunities for local, peer-to-peer content to be created and distributed, affording new cultural and economic opportunities to rural communities.
The study encourages national and international governments, the mobile industry and NGOs to work together to support the development of these services by increasing access to, and use of, mobile communications in rural communities.
Electronic versions of the Mobile Development Report (pdf) can be downloaded at www.nokia.com/universalaccess
emily | 11:14 AM | permalink
March 13, 2007
In India, a man is seen pushing a cart loaded with two coin-operated public telephones along the streets of Hyderabad. Powered by batteries, these telephones were bought from a telecommunication company at a cost of $170. At the end of the day, he gets to keep half of the "mobile booth" earnings.
-- Renting cell phone minutes in Mongolia - Jan Chipchase on Future Perfect reports on how individuals rent out phone minutes in Mongolia.
-- Grameen's Village Phone Program Is providing good business opportunities for more than 260,000 Village Phone operators, mostly poor rural women, all across the country.
-- mobile phone booths in narobi Childhood polio has confined both men in this video to wheelchairs. Now they have a mobile phone business thanks to their goverment. The introduction of these mobile fixed phones made that possible. The phone is connected to a mobile phone network in Kenya and works like any fixed phone. So every day they place themselves where they expect to attract the most customers who need to make a phone call.
-- Rickshaws connect India's poor A regional mobile phone company in India, Shyam Telecom, has equipped a fleet of rickshaws with a mobile phone. Drivers pedal these mobile payphones throughout the state capital, Jaipur, and the surrounding countryside.
-- Uganda's new bike payphones In an effort to bring telecommunication closer to Ugandans, MTN publiCom has unveiled its latest payphone innovation mounted on a four-wheeled cycle.
-- Phone Bikes in Kamapala A mobile and wireless phone kiosk in Kamapala draws its power from a car battery. Despite its bicyclesque design they were not particularly mobile - one or more tyres were often flat and they remained tethered in one place for the duration of the day.
emily | 11:39 AM | permalink
March 5, 2007
The mobile phone is among the technologies that have been directly transferred to Ethiopia, reports EthioBlog.
“Because of the language barrier, many people in our area and the majority of Ethiopians do not properly understand the English menus on their cell phones,” says Abraham. “What we did was to figure out how we can solve the problem.”
... Abraham and his team eveloped 200 characters on the nine keys of a Motorola apparatus. Using Amharic language characters, they were able to develop phone book, message and phone settings in Amharic."
... They are looking for a partner who is willing to provide them with the necessary equipment to finalize their research and develop their first fully compatible Amharic mobile phone operating system using Symbian."
(Picture left from Mobile Phones in Ehiopia)
Related Essay by Jan Chipchase for Nokia:Understanding Non-Literacy as a Barrier to Mobile Phone Communication
-- Emerging markets have higher numbers of textually non-literate people than more developed markets
-- Effective use of mobile phone features requires an understanding of textual prompts
-- Contact management and asynchronous communication in particular presents challenges for textually non-literate people
-- Solutions can be categorized as improvements to the phone, the ecosystem and to the operator infrastructure
emily | 6:18 PM | permalink
March 1, 2007
In India, 60% of the population are in agriculture, and most farms are small, with only 1 to 3 acres of land, writes VoIP News, reporting from the Emergency Telephone Conference where Sean Blagsvedt, Head of Program Management and Advanced Prototyping, MSR India and Rajesh Veeraraghavan, Associate Researcher, MSR India took the stage..
"Veeraraghavan runs through a pilot study that has been running for the past five months, which provided small Indian farmers with SMS-enabled smartphones hooked to PCs. This improved the farms productivity by providing harvesting information immediately, as opposed to over a period of 15 to 20 days. He says that the SMS was extremely useful to the farmers, and at a low cost of about $159 per farmer per year.
He says farmers were in disbelief at the program’s ability to provide exact and precise information. The study was such a success that other farmers in the area where the study took place requested the service. They successfully replaced a PC-based system with a cheaper, more accessible, SMS-based Mobile Phone System."
emily | 7:47 AM | permalink