Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Global Telecom Industry Has Made a Historic Leap in Serving People in Developing Regions

 A high-level study sponsored by Alcatel-Lucent and conducted by the ENPC (Ecole des Ponts ParisTech) illustrates an important and historic change in global communications, especially the decades-long effort to figure out how to provide communications to billions of human beings who had not previously “made a phone call,” much less “used the Internet.”

In recent years, the concern has shifted dramatically to mobile service for the “next billion” people, or Internet for the next billion people, where in the 1960s and 1970s the issue was providing “phone service” to the “next billion” users in developing countries.

What has gone somewhat unnoticed is the truly stunning progress, globally, in getting communications services to users in developing regions, where once policy makers struggled to anticipate how that could be done with legacy technology, namely fixed networks.

Without too much fanfare, the answers have emerged organically from use of mobile and Internet technologies.

With six billion mobile users globally in 2011, usage of mobile phones has become a truly planetary phenomenon, and has largely erased the “divide” between people in developed countries and people in developing countries, in terms of ability to use communications.

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