Thursday, 24 February 2011

India’s mobile revolution-With half a billion subscribers, India is making the mobile phone its own

India’s mobile phone revolution is in full swing. According to the telecommunications regulator, 506 million Indians have a mobile phone subscription of some kind. Naturally, the burgeoning Indian middle class sees the mobile phone as a sign that it is partaking of the global largesse of consumerism. Among the poorer classes, the picture is more complicated. Pointing to cases of hardy entrepreneurship, the pundits keep telling us that the mobile phone is playing a revolutionary role as an antidote to social and economic deprivation and the ultimate levelling device.
But this view glosses over the significant social and economic inequalities that inhibit the life chances of those whose primary concern continues to be simply making ends meet. For poorer people who do have some measure of security and stability, however, the mobile phone is certainly affecting their daily lives in significant ways. Among the millions who have never even owned a landline, the mobile phone has become the primary way to communicate with their relatives and friends and enables them to micro-coordinate daily activities to levels never seen before.

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