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Serving Sri Lanka

This web log is a news and views blog. The primary aim is to provide an avenue for the expression and collection of ideas on sustainable, fair, and just, grassroot level development. Some of the topics that the blog will specifically address are: poverty reduction, rural development, educational issues, social empowerment, post-Tsunami relief and reconstruction, livelihood development, environmental conservation and bio-diversity. 

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Phone-sharing connects the hinterland

The Island: 08/05/2007" by Steve A. Morrell

A Nokia innovation that could solve rural communication glitches

In rural communities throughout emerging markets, phone- sharing could become a way of life. One member who owns a mobile and subscribes to the network service could share the facility. Others in the community can take turns using the phone. Nokia has developed easy-to-manage solutions such as cost-and time-tracking to provide the phone’s owner with a way to control usage. Some of Nokia’s mobile phones have the capacity for multiple phonebooks.

In urban centres in emerging markets, phone sharing becomes even more entrepreneurial. Enterprising local business owners have developed mobile phone booths including bicycles with phones mounted on them, which can follow the urban flow of people to wherever they need to make calls.

Given the chance, most people would like to own a mobile phone. However, in many emerging markets, lower income consumers face financial barriers that make it impossible to own a mobile phone. There is a way to increase opportunities for connectivity for these important entry-level consumers which is phone-sharing.

Phone-sharing can take various forms from unofficial sharing between friends, roommates or family members to small businesses that allow consumers to make calls or send text messages for a minimal fee. This enables the lower-income consumer a chance to connect with family and friends without the burden of paying for a device or being committed to a network service.
Whether it is a remote village or fast-paced urban centre, phone-sharing is making it possible for more people to stay connected. Business or pleasure and, above all, the latitude of connectivity is perhaps limitless, said, Director, Solutions Development, Nokia Siemens Networks Rauno Granath. He made these observations at the Nokia Convention titled ‘Every one has a reason’ last week in New Delhi.

Phone-sharing also offers the opportunity for entrepreneurship in many rural areas in emerging markets. Access to connectivity is available through Village Phones, mkrofinanced small businesses. The Village Phone kiosk also often serves as a meeting point in the village where people gather and communicate.

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