It wasn’t that many years ago that most of the world’s population had never made a phone call. Now, two thirds of the world’s population own a mobile phone. The advent of the mobile phone made it possible to put infrastructures into areas previously in accessible to land-lines, and with it, an explosion in it’s usage.
The greatest growth in recent years has been developing countries, especially China and India. The European Information Technology Observatory has reported that by the end of 2009 there will be 4.4 billion mobile phone users worldwide, an increase of 12% from 2008.
Approximately half the number of people have internet access. Putting a slightly broader perspective on it, there are more people without adequate sanitation then own a mobile phone.
In developing countries greater mobile usage has also brought benefits, in the form of commerce and democritisation. In Africa, mobiles have been used in the voting process and in Iran, phones have become so important in the political process that SMS and MMS have been blocked during the elections.
Whilst The Internet has often been seen as a the key force in networking the world’s population, it looks like that it could, in fact, come from the mobile phone. The mobile is more than just calls. SMS in particular has become a tool in political campaigns and elections. Although data connections are less common in developing countries, these are likely to increase giving worldwide populations better access to online communities.
Are we at the point that owning a mobile phone and communicating with others should be a basic human right?