The only human invention to surpass the usability and the ubiquity of the wheel would be the humble mobile phone. And if the figures from the World Bank’s latest report titled ‘Information and Communications for Development 2012: Maximizing Mobile’ are anything to go by, mobiles just might be the most important human invention ever. Some 6 billion people have access to cell phone in 2012, whereas in 2001 there were just 1 billion users in the world. And to put that number in context, 75% of the human population or 3 out of every 4 human being has a mobile phone.
To further go on with the drift and boggle our minds with more numbers, the report says that more people have access to mobile phone than to basic human amenities like clean water, electricity and bank accounts. It may soon be plausible that the number of mobile devices will outnumber the humans owing to the ownership of multiple devices, a trend that is quickly becoming mainstream.
The report adds that ‘developing’ nations tend to be more mobile friendly than ‘developed” nations and this has led to some unique innovations. The concept of multi-sim devices along with mobile payments and low value recharge originated in developing countries and later spread across the world.
In terms of pure Indian users, there are 70 mobile subscribers out of every 100 people, and a whopping 96% are of the mobile users are prepaid customers. Something which owes to fact that a vast majority of the Indian population has no credit history. 83% of the Indian households have a mobile connection and they use on average 330 minutes per month. The calling rates in India are some of the lowest in the world with $0.01(~50p). But the area where India lacks the most is the mobile internet usage, where a measly 3.3% of the users have access to data connection.
The report praises a number of Indian initiatives, like the ill-fated Aakash tablet for bringing mobility to the masses and the Kerala’s m-government initiative. The Kerala government’s initiative has led to 20 mobile applications and 3 million interactions between the government and the citizen since Dec, 2010. The report cites the concept of the mobile green revolution by offering several use case scenarios where ICT ( information and communication technology) bundled with innovation could solve a host of local problems. Popularity in the field of mobile applications or apps has led to some 30 billion of them being downloaded in 2011.The apps were bundled with the mobile devices were used by the consumers to increase their livelihood and enhance their lifestyle, whereas the government used it as a tool for citizen feedback mechanism.
The report (download) states that mobile industry is expected to generate 7 million indirect jobs in 2012 alone. So rest assured, that your buying of that Rajinikanth phone is contributing toward the greater cause of nation building.