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Over 2.5 Billion Cellular Connections Now Active

CowboyNeal posted more than 7 years ago | from the towers-and-towers dept.

168

An anonymous reader writes "It appears that humankind has managed to spread cellular technology like a virus. About 2.5 billion cellular connections exist in the world today, according to an estimate from the GSM Association. It took 20 years to reach 1 billion connections, three years to reach 2 billion connections and the market is moving to reach its third billion in a period of just over two years. Not surprisingly, the countries with fastest growth are the 'emerging nations.'"

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At last, the ??? has been found! (4, Funny)

QuantumFTL (197300) | more than 7 years ago | (#16064674)

Step 1: Steal Underpants
Step 2: Re-sell w/ sewn-in camera cell phone
Step 3: Profit!

Re:At last, the ??? has been found! (1)

kkiller (945601) | more than 7 years ago | (#16064818)

/me patents the bluetoothed, camera phone, mobile TV equipped underpant.

Re:At last, the ??? has been found! (1)

QuantumFTL (197300) | more than 7 years ago | (#16064933)

/me patents the bluetoothed, camera phone, mobile TV equipped underpant.

I'm sorry to inform you, sir, but I have prior art.

Where is it you say? I'm wearing it, baby!

similar (5, Funny)

thedogcow (694111) | more than 7 years ago | (#16064684)

I have a similar graph.... Y axis is number of "cell conditions" and the X axis is the level "Assholeivity in Public (theater, etc). " Yes, I think is a directly proportional relationship.

Re:similar (3, Insightful)

jkburges (991357) | more than 7 years ago | (#16064697)

Actually, I think it might be exponential - since for each extra person talking on a phone, each individual feels the need to speak a bit louder, and hence total volume goes up exponentially.

Re:similar (1)

Scarblac (122480) | more than 7 years ago | (#16065201)

Sounds more like a quadratic function to me.

Re:similar (4, Funny)

QuantumFTL (197300) | more than 7 years ago | (#16064703)

Eh, I don't worry about the assholes w/ cell phones in theatres. I figure give it a few more years till they start with the brain cancer... *chuckles maniacally*

Funny... (1)

Belial6 (794905) | more than 7 years ago | (#16064920)

Funny how the anti-cell phone Luddites can be twice as rude as anyone with a cell phone and not even realize it.

No Ludditism here... (1)

hummassa (157160) | more than 7 years ago | (#16064956)

Mind you, I am owner of two cell phones and so much tech gear that takes me 15 minutes to enter a bank branch. But I put them on vibracall when I'm at a restaurant or movie theater, and I go to the bathroom or outside to take a call -- IF it's imperative that I take the call. I own a cell phone for the last 15 years and NEVER anyone "sssh"'d me. So, excuse me if I see a guy my age taking a call during the best part of a movie "no, dear, I'm still at the movie, yes, I'll bring home some Chinese, how is your sister going ..." out loud. Come on.

Re:No Ludditism here... (1)

jamesh (87723) | more than 7 years ago | (#16065006)

NEVER anyone "sssh"'d me

Just this evening i was sssh'd by my 17 month old son who was trying to watch "The Goodies" when i got a phone call :)

Can't remember being sssh'd before that though.

Re:No Ludditism here... (1)

Patrik_AKA_RedX (624423) | more than 7 years ago | (#16065031)

I own a cell phone for the last 15 years and NEVER anyone "sssh"'d me.
So basicly you're 2m tall, muscular build, tatoo'ed arms, piercings. A general agressive look. Well I wouldn't "sssh" you either.

Not really, but thanks (1)

hummassa (157160) | more than 7 years ago | (#16065163)

174cm, average-to-large-bones build, slightly overweight, always in jeans and black t-shirts, pierced years but don't use an earring since I married 9 years ago, some white hair in the sides. Not threatening IMHO. No, I just behave properly.

Re:similar (1, Interesting)

rikkards (98006) | more than 7 years ago | (#16065160)

Something I never really noticed until lately and I need to rant. Mod me however you wish my karma can take it.
When in hell did it become socially acceptable to receive a call at your table at a restaurant? Not McDonalds but a typical restaurant that actually has a dress code.
Proper manners would dictate to excuse yourself from the table and take the call elsewhere rather than talking extremely loudly and then giving dirty looks at other patrons when you can't hear over other people talking.

Sorry for the rant. I feel better now.

Some more facts: (4, Insightful)

tanveer1979 (530624) | more than 7 years ago | (#16064691)

I spent a small amount of time in the US, and surprisingly the tarrif structure and the talk time etc., plans available in India are far better than in the US. In broadband access developed nations have lot of lead over developing ones, maybe because to have good connectivity you require undersea cables as most of the servers are in west, but in case of cellular connections countries like India are way ahead of the US/Europe, and very soon 3G deployment will be mainstream.

Re:Some more facts: (2, Informative)

dread (3500) | more than 7 years ago | (#16064701)

You can't compare the US cellular market to anything else. It is a quagmire. Compare India (with it's administrative circles, weird government regulations and crappy operators) with something in Europe instead. In fact, India is so far behind on the scale it isn't even funny.

Re:yeah right (1)

arun_s (877518) | more than 7 years ago | (#16064724)

Compare India (with it's administrative circles, weird government regulations and crappy operators) with something in Europe instead. In fact, India is so far behind on the scale it isn't even funny.
Oh. That must explain why its second in the list of 'the top ten countries for volume of new connections over the last year' (RTFA).
I'm from India, the operators are pretty cool here. You have a choice of GSM and CDMA, you're phone isn't locked down by your operator, and I've personally faced no problems with either the tariffs or the coverage.

Re:yeah right (2, Informative)

Forge (2456) | more than 7 years ago | (#16064751)

No. That's because India has the 2nd largest population. It's beeten by China.

A better measure is per capita deployment where some European countries have passed 100% (more people with 2 or more cellphones than people with none at all).

Or even small "Developing" countries like Jamaica with Over 2 Million Cellphones and a population of 2.7 Million.

Re:yeah right (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16064854)

Ok, dumb question here, yet I am serious.
Why on earth would anyone have more than one cell phone?

Re:yeah right (2, Informative)

Don_dumb (927108) | more than 7 years ago | (#16064931)

Business and pleasure.

Re:yeah right (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16064943)

Many people in Europe travel between countries often, and keep numbers in multiple places to avoid long distance and roaming fees.

Two options exist for them. Switching SIM cards when crossing the borders or having multiple phones. The obvious advantage with multiple phones is having all the numbers active for receiving calls and messages (SMS is usually free to recieve even when roaming).

Re:yeah right (1)

bytesex (112972) | more than 7 years ago | (#16064994)

Many people have a cellphone of their own and supplied with one by their work. They won't give up the one they had, because they might change jobs and the family, friends and relatives all have that number, and the company will insist on supplying them with one, because they have a policy about these things, or the number comes with the position, or whatnot. This happened to me, and I'm no exception.

One for work, other for personal calls. (1)

hummassa (157160) | more than 7 years ago | (#16065039)

So you can turn one off and let the other on, and always know what is going on. And sometimes the firm gives you a "work-calls-only" enforced policy cell, and you still have yours for personal calls.

Re:yeah right (1)

arun_s (877518) | more than 7 years ago | (#16064864)

Thanks for pointing that out, I was totally off track there :)
My point was about the parent's comment on the state of the operators and regulations here, and yes, the article's stats aren't a measure of that.

Re:yeah right (1)

anothy (83176) | more than 7 years ago | (#16064975)

the administrative circle thing and restrictions on operators in multiple states are pretty bizarre, though. there really is a lot of unnecessary bureaucracy in the system there (or "here", as that's where i am right now).

Fact:Metcalfe's Law Explains Cell-Phone Popularity (4, Interesting)

reporter (666905) | more than 7 years ago | (#16064777)

Metcalfe's Law [wikipedia.org] explains well why a cellular network grows rapidly. The value of a network grows as the square of the number of members of a network. Here, members are owners of cell phones. As the value increases, more people want to be part of the network. So, more people buy cell phones. Lather. Rinse. Repeat.

Something similar is true for public transport (1)

Ogemaniac (841129) | more than 7 years ago | (#16065036)

which is a major reason it is so hard for the US to get it off the ground. Building a train between X and Y is not very worthwhile if X and Y do not connect anywhere.

Re:Fact:Metcalfe's Law Explains Cell-Phone Popular (2, Insightful)

cowbutt (21077) | more than 7 years ago | (#16065168)

Metcalfe's Law explains well why a cellular network grows rapidly.

Not really, as you can dial into and out of the cellular network from/to an existing landline network.

People buy mobile phones because they see value in them; whether that's witnessing first hand the usefulness of being able to be contacted (nearly) anywhere on the planet, or simply being seen to be important enough to have a mobile phone. The value isn't really brought from the network itself, though.

Bollocks (2, Insightful)

EnglishTim (9662) | more than 7 years ago | (#16065366)

That makes no sense at all. Huge numbers are already connected to the phone network via their landlines. The reason mobiles are so popular in emerging nations is that it's much cheaper to set up a cell in an area and sell people mobiles than it is to lay cable to everybody's house.

Re:Fact:Metcalfe's Law Explains Cell-Phone Popular (4, Insightful)

thesandtiger (819476) | more than 7 years ago | (#16065460)

Not only is what you're saying not a fact, it's a complete misapplication of Metcalfe's idea.

People who had a landline were already connected to the network - getting a cell gives no value from the viewpoint of giving access to the network.

The primary reason cell use has spread so much - specifically in "emerging" nations - is because it is MUCH cheaper to set up a cellular system and spread access than it is to do with landlines.

Another big reason would be the mix of convenience and quality of service. In my case, I ditched my landline 2 years ago because it was pointless. I like having a phone with me all the time. If I want to be unavailable, I can put it on silent mode. A phone that sits at home - a place where I spend maybe 4 waking hours a day - just seemed pointless. I don't think I'm the only person who thinks that way.

My hope is that since cells are now virtually everywhere, people who used to feel the need to talk at the top of their lungs to let everyone know they had one will now see it as a sign of class to speak softly on them. I am doing my best to encourage people to do just that - when I am on the bus or train and someone is having a LOUD conversation on their phone, I will look at them raptly, and, if they ever fall silent, I will say "Oooh, what's he saying now?" When they inevitably say something along the lines of "this is a private conversation" I explain that, at the volume they were speaking, it was anything but. Of course, I say it with a great deal of charm, so I have yet to be bopped in the nose.

Re:Some more facts: (5, Informative)

cannonfodda (557893) | more than 7 years ago | (#16064801)

I have had a pretty much similar experience with the U.S. network providers. Certainly in Europe the coverage is significantly better and the total cost of ownership of a phone seems a lot less than people are paying in the U.S.

But it's not that surprising really. I've alwasy understood that the economics of the mobile network (feel free to shoot me down here since I'm relaying and might have got this wrong) are essentially controlled by population density. There is a point beyond which it becomes uneconomic to develop a digital cell network due to the limited range of the transmitters (about 11 miles nominal range the last time I looked).

So it's not really surprising that the largest developments are in the developing countries and specifically Asia. There are large VERY densely populated urban centres which, until recently, had no cell coverage. So even selling call time at a low rate will mean that companies can recover their investment very quickly. So I would guess that the graph in the article will have to flatten out, or the emphasis will shift to different markets as the large urban areas in Asia and South America become saturated with providers in the same way as European cities are.

In Europe after the inital rapid development of the urban networks the coverage of rural areas was very slow. Scotland was a prefect example. Over half the population of the country lives in a 50 mile strip along the central belt of the country. Fine. Great coverage. Go up to the highlands....and until recently it was a very different story. The landscape and low population density made it a costly investment to cover these areas. You would have to expect that the same thing will happen in these new markets. Explosive development in e.g Mumbai followed by a much, much slower growth over the country as a whole. I'd love to see a distribution map of this stuff.

Anyway back to the original point. I've always understood that the reason why the service in the U.S. was rubbish was that, once the urban areas were well covered there was no real impetus to extend that to the gulfs between cities.

Re:Some more facts: (1)

jacksonj04 (800021) | more than 7 years ago | (#16064919)

The other problem is this: where do you put masts in the middle of nowhere? The UK's national parks, such as the Lake District and Yorkshire Dales, have *very* strict regulations about what can be built and unless your cell company can do something like get a mast put up in a church tower then there's not going to be any coverage.

OTOH if you're going to be travelling through small town America, can't get to a landline and *must* stay in touch then satphones are a good investment.

Re:Some more facts: (1)

Don_dumb (927108) | more than 7 years ago | (#16064962)

where do you put masts in the middle of nowhere
That is what primary school paying fields are for.

Re:Some more facts: (1)

arivanov (12034) | more than 7 years ago | (#16065091)

In the lake district you are hardly ever out of direct sight from at something that has been deemed to be sufficiently mouldy and smelly to be a listed building. In most cases it is a badly done fake imitation of a castle (Wray Castle is a prime example). Nearly universally it has nothing to do with castles, history or anything like this. It is a victorian villa build by some rich bastard from the neigbouring ex-industrial areas further south. Nearly all of these have antennas on top (once again the Vodafone cell on top of Wray Castle is a prime example). While there are some difficulties in getting planning permissions there the cell companies have learned to get around them (orange fake redwood trees are a prime example on this).
As long as there is human habitation the cellcos manage to get their way around regs. It is outside inhabited areas which is interesting

Re:Some more facts: (4, Insightful)

pimpimpim (811140) | more than 7 years ago | (#16064838)

Why are all the people lauding the european cell network here? I agree the quality is ok, but the pricing is ridiculous. Calling to a mobile phone can be up to 20 cent or more, say 20 times more than a normal phone call. Also, since there are so many small countries in europe, providers earn a shitload of money on 'roaming' costs, even when the same companies are present in almost all countries by now. It has nothing to do with actual costs anymore, but only with how much they can get away with to ask. The fact that there is 'competition' isn't helping much out here, as they silently make sure not to underbid their competitors too much.

Re:Some more facts: (4, Informative)

Don_dumb (927108) | more than 7 years ago | (#16065003)

Also, since there are so many small countries in europe, providers earn a shitload of money on 'roaming' costs
That is why the EU is bringing in legislation to reduce roaming charges across the continent http://europa.eu.int/information_society/activitie s/roaming/roaming_regulation/index_en.htm [eu.int] and is (and has been) investigating the mobile companies for anti-competitive behaviour.

Calling to a mobile phone can be up to 20 cent or more, say 20 times more than a normal phone call
I never quite worked this one out myself, I think it has just been accepted without really questioning why. It is another reason why most of us (in the UK) have mobiles and text each other (although a simple text message can often turn into a big text conversation and end up being more expensive than just calling the person in the first place)

Re:Some more facts: (1)

mapkinase (958129) | more than 7 years ago | (#16065300)

Calling to a mobile phone can be up to 20 cent or more, say 20 times more than a normal phone call
What do you mean by that?
Calling from what? Landline or mobile?
Costing to whom? Caller or callee?
Normal phone call is what? Landline to landline? Mobile to mobile?
Note that I have very little experience with European day-to-day usage of mobile phones.

Re:Some more facts: (1)

stunt_penguin (906223) | more than 7 years ago | (#16065078)

Calling to a mobile phone can be up to 20 cent or more,

You lucky bastard, whereever you are; In Ireland, ringing a Vofdafone customer from an O2 mobile during the day is 70cents (euro) a minute (that's about $1), and things don't get much cheaper during the evening, either. It's a fucking disgrace, but no-one seems to ever do anything about it.

Why is US service so bad? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16065172)

That was my first question too. I've got to think that the cost of equipment is the same in the US as overseas - so the economics can't be all that different. But the monthly rate in the US ($35/mo for a low end plan) would be impossibly expensive in a developing nation's economy. How can it be that much cheaper overseas? I'm sure there are differences in the quality of service (building adequate numbers of towers in urban areas, or building in marginal areas), but coverage in the US is still limited (especially in the West).

Re:Why is US service so bad? (1)

yoastertoaster (916355) | more than 7 years ago | (#16065422)

In the country I live we've got a couple of major providers, each of them having their own physical network. Each one of these networks has a coverage of at least 95%. I'm sure that's a situation stimulating healthy competition (assuming there's no price fixing). How's the situation in the US? Did the providers split the pie and charge whatever they like in their piece of it? Or do you have at least a couple of providers to choose from. I can also imagine there being big differences between urban and rural areas concerning this.

How many times do we have to go over this? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16065380)

When you have a country half the size of the US but with nearly 4 times the population how is it surprising that you have better cell coverage? This is getting really old having to re-explain this to every dimwit that comes along.
 
BTW: I hear the cellular coverage in Siberia really sucks, the same with Antartica.

Ha! (1)

lostngone (855272) | more than 7 years ago | (#16064700)

The cell providers are laughing all the way to the bank(at least in the US). With all this business why are the cell networks in the US so poor.

Re:Ha! (1)

jcr (53032) | more than 7 years ago | (#16064936)

With all this business why are the cell networks in the US so poor.

There is a disadvantage to early adoption in many cases. US services have a lot of cell network infrastructure from previous generations of cellular technology, and many, many customers who aren't going to ditch their existing phones for something up-to-date overnight.

-jcr

Are there enough digits in a phone number? (5, Funny)

c0d3r (156687) | more than 7 years ago | (#16064704)

How can this be if there aren't enough digits in a US phone number:

1,23-4,56-7,890

allows ~1.2445679 digits (some rounding error)

What do class 5 switches allow globally and whats the denomination?

Re:Are there enough digits in a phone number? (2, Informative)

wfberg (24378) | more than 7 years ago | (#16064736)

How can this be if there aren't enough digits in a US phone number

Because it's a US phone number, and the article is about other, forrin countries as well.

(MS)ISDN E.164 numbers are 15 digits, including the country code. Even the North American Numbering Plan can be expanded vastly, from 11 digits (the one counts!) to 15; a factor 10,000.

Re:Are there enough digits in a phone number? (2, Funny)

aadvancedGIR (959466) | more than 7 years ago | (#16065062)

I thought there were only 10000 american phone number, isn't 555 US prefix?

Re:Are there enough digits in a phone number? (0)

cerberus4696 (765520) | more than 7 years ago | (#16065426)

555 is a "fake" prefix established for use in movies and TV, where they wouldn't want to accidentally use someone's real phone number.

Re:Are there enough digits in a phone number? (5, Funny)

Don_dumb (927108) | more than 7 years ago | (#16064755)

Ladies and gentlemen, the stereotypical American.
Pity him he doesn't know there is a whole world out there.

Re:Are there enough digits in a phone number? (1)

Tim C (15259) | more than 7 years ago | (#16064952)

Please tell me you don't seriously think that there are 2.5billion mobiles in the US alone. You do realise that that's almost enough for half the planet's population, or about 10 for every single person in the US, right?

Re:Are there enough digits in a phone number? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16064979)

FFS, really? RTFA. It's a whole world outside the USA. Moron.

Leapfrogging (1)

kaysan (972266) | more than 7 years ago | (#16064706)

is the way in which technological innovation (i.e. a cellphone) allows countries to 'skip' older technology and move straight on to the newer ones, thus catching up quicker.

Re:Leapfrogging (1)

aadvancedGIR (959466) | more than 7 years ago | (#16065076)

The contrary example is France, in which cellphone and internet had some initial difficulties because of the cheap and highly reliable payphone system (it worked with prepaid cards so there was no money in them to be stolen) and the minitel (a 1200 baud terminal).

In related developments, (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16064720)

the NSA has increased their data storage capacity to 2.5 billion data-storing nodes.

If you want to be more drammatic (3, Interesting)

mgblst (80109) | more than 7 years ago | (#16064722)

You could say it took millions of year to reach 1 billion connections, since hasn't all of mans endeavours, from fire and the wheel to radio and transistors been moving towards creating mobile phones? Depends on how you look at it.

Mobile phones and development (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16064728)

Leaders / Mobile phones and development [economist.com]

Less is more
Jul 7th 2005
From The Economist print edition

Mobile phones can boost development in poor countries—if governments let them

IMAGE (iAfrica) [economist.com]

IMAGINE a magical device that could boost entrepreneurship and economic activity, provide an alternative to bad roads and unreliable postal services, widen farmers’ access to markets, and allow swift and secure transfers of money. Now stop imagining: the device in question is the mobile phone. Not surprisingly, people in the developing world are clamouring for them, and subscriber growth is booming. The fastest growth rates are to be found in Africa, albeit from a low base. Already, 80% of the world’s population lives within range of a mobile network; but only about 25% have a mobile phone.

The primary obstacle to wider adoption is the cost of handsets. In the rich world, these typically cost around $200 (though most pay less than this thanks to subsidies from network operators), or less than 1% of the average income per person. In the developing world, in contrast, a $50 handset would account for 14% of the annual income of someone earning $1 a day. So the first step in promoting the adoption of mobile phones, say operators in developing countries, is to reduce the cost of the handsets. Several such schemes are under way: in particular, several operators in developing countries have joined together to aggregate their buying power, and Motorola, the world’s second-largest handset-maker, has agreed to supply up to 6m handsets for less than $40 each (see article [economist.com] ). There is already talk of prices falling below $30 next year.

Industry observers believe cheaper handsets could expand the market by as many as 150m new subscribers a year. As well as boosting economic development in poor countries, this will help to close the “digital divide” between the communications-rich and communications-poor. Governments, you would have thought, would be doing everything in their power to promote the spread of mobile phones.

But rather than treating mobile phones as an important tool for development, many governments see them instead as an opportunity to impose hefty taxes and milk a fast-growing industry for all it is worth. In both Turkey and Bangladesh, for example, anyone buying a new mobile phone must pay a $15 connection tax. Many countries slap large import duties on handsets and impose special taxes on subscribers and operators. In many cases, these taxes double the cost of acquiring a mobile phone. As handset prices fall, such taxes will become an ever more prominent obstacle to wider adoption.

Governments should reduce these taxes at once. Indeed, by doing so, they can both speed adoption and increase revenues. High import tariffs discourage legal imports of phones and encourage people to buy them on the black market instead. Reducing such tariffs would boost revenues as legal imports increased. Lower taxes on phone calls would encourage adoption and increase the tax base. It can be done: both Mauritius and India have recently reduced their taxes and tariffs.

Mobile phones have created more entrepreneurs in Africa in the past five years than anything else, says the boss of one pan-African operator. Promoting their spread requires no aid payments or charity handouts: handset-makers, acting in their own interest, are ready to produce low-cost phones for what they now regard as a promising new market. Mobile operators across the developing world would love to sign up millions of new customers. But if developing countries are to realise the full social and economic benefits of mobile phones, governments must ensure that their policies help, rather than hinder, the wider adoption of this miraculous technology.
 
::: yfnET

Yeah, I was thinking of getting one (1)

niceone (992278) | more than 7 years ago | (#16064731)

But if I did get one, I think I might feel obliged to actually go outside {shudders}.

Hmm (1)

gundamstuff (822388) | more than 7 years ago | (#16064735)

That's quite the impressive number, though I'm still keeping my AT&T landline. That way when I need to call 9/11, I won't have a dead battery or Vonage in my way.

Emerging nations? (5, Interesting)

Forge (2456) | more than 7 years ago | (#16064738)

Right now I'm working for one of the "culprits" in this phenomenal growth. Digicel [digicelgroup.com] allegedly sold 300,000 phones in it's 1st month of operations in Haiti. If you check the CIA Factbook [cia.gov] , it basically says this is the worst run country in the western hemisphere. I have been here for 3 months now and I can say it's the worst I have seen.

Despite that, Somebody sold 300,000 phones in a month. How? Because a prepaid cellphone with free incoming calls is exactly what you need when you are impoverished. Looking for work? Put the number on your resume. Family members in a developed country? Give them the number so they can call you and you can ask for remittances.

Seriously. That's why it makes sense to sell a U$75 phone for U$25 to someone who had to save for weeks to pay that price.

So yeah. A nation doesn't even have to be emerging for Cellphones to take off. It could be a textbook case of "How to, not develop".

PS: Another sign of underdevelopment is when you must import almost your entire technical staff.

Re:Emerging nations? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16064791)

Because a prepaid cellphone with free incoming calls is exactly what you need when you are impoverished.

Dude, the _WHOLE_ world works like that, except United States where you seem to be stuck in 1947 telephony-wise. It really doesn't need to be an "impoverished". Unless you count, say, UK, Germany, Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Spain, France, Japan, etc, as "impoversished".

Re:Emerging nations? (1)

Forge (2456) | more than 7 years ago | (#16065189)

ohm... I never said this was only for the pore. I said it's what the pore need. I.e. Pore people are much better off if they get clean tapwater too. Dosn't meen it's not great for the rest of us or that developed contries don't have it in abundance.

Re:Emerging nations? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16065223)

Is China (1.3 billion people) part of the whole world? Here, I pay for airtime on my phone, regardless of who initiated the call. Maybe you need to relax a little...

Re:Emerging nations? (1)

mapkinase (958129) | more than 7 years ago | (#16065192)

It could be a textbook case of "How to, not develop".


This is complete non sequitur. How does it follow from what you have said? It helps people... Besides, people WILL HAVE to make calls some times. Consider two situations:

1. Maurice does not have a cell phone. He is in a desperate situation that will certainly benefit from calling someone. He does not call
2. Maurice has a cell phone. He is in the same situation. He calls.
3. ???
4. Profit.

Try also to think out of "phone industry of Haiti" you work for as an indicator of economy developing.

Lack of infrastructure (2, Interesting)

ttys00 (235472) | more than 7 years ago | (#16064762)

Part of the reason mobile phone ownership growing so fast in 3rd world countries is the lack of infrastructure - large expanses of 3rd world countries have no phone lines at all, and a mobile phone is a cheap and easy way to communicate in any language, especially when using recycled handsets from 1st world countries.

A small village can share a handset, which both facilitates trade and also obtains the best prices for their vegetables in the markets in the surrounding town.

Also, greater population density in many 3rd world countries allows for more phones per base station (ie. greater economies of scale), and therefore cheaper plans. You'd be surprised at how hard telcos in India and China compete for customers, something telcos in the US have managed to avoid for many years.

Re:Lack of infrastructure (2, Insightful)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 7 years ago | (#16065063)

Part of the reason mobile phone ownership growing so fast in 3rd world countries is the lack of infrastructure

About ten years ago I was shown a factory here in Melbourne where analog cellular phones were being built into bulky units for sale in Chile. The idea is that it is cheaper to put a cellular phone in every house and a base station every 10km or so, than to trench all the way to every house.

So that's where my phone went... (3, Funny)

Sting_TVT (959719) | more than 7 years ago | (#16064766)

Leave a phone on a cafe table..... See it on CNN three days later in Mogadishu

Re:So that's where my phone went... (1)

deleveld (607488) | more than 7 years ago | (#16065279)

You were in a cafe in Mogadishu?

Re:So that's where my phone went... (1)

Sting_TVT (959719) | more than 7 years ago | (#16065313)

nah, cafe in germany. Most of the european stolen cell phones wind up in africa or the middle east repackaged

And the NSA (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16064769)

is monitoring every one of them....

Cellular Boom ? You are dead on target. (3, Interesting)

ravee (201020) | more than 7 years ago | (#16064781)

I agree wholeheartedly with the article. In India for instance, Now a days where ever you look, you can see people with a cellphone glued to their ear. News channels provide SMS (Short Messaging Service) numbers where the viewers can send messages via their cellphones. And the cellular service doesn't come cheap. It is atleast twice as costly as making calls via landline though deals are available dime a dozen. Sometimes I wonder if all this is really a good thing.

Somebody should do a detailed study of the negetive effects of using a cellphone.

Re:Cellular Boom ? You are dead on target. (1)

novus ordo (843883) | more than 7 years ago | (#16065249)

Getting hit by one? *ducks*

Mobile phones get people out of poverty (3, Interesting)

MosesJones (55544) | more than 7 years ago | (#16064782)

There have been a series or articles in the last few years in the Economist [economist.com] about how having mobile phones helps to lift people out of poverty in the developing world. Their view, and I have to say I agree, is that its more important to get people a communication network (mobile phones) than it is to get them a computer.

Its a genuinely good thing that this is taking off in the developing world to help people create small businesses and to reduce barriers.

Africa Report - Democratic benefits (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16065061)

Another benefit of mobile phones becoming more common (I believe I read this in a magazine called "The Africa Report") is that reports of centralized/governmental corruption spread much quicker. This helps the population in nominally democratic countries keep tabs on their representatives.

also spreading: (-1, Redundant)

snafu109 (852770) | more than 7 years ago | (#16064792)

Also spreading like a virus: Boring Excel graphs.

Powerpoint presentation coming soon! Now with the "zooming car" sound effect!

Kurzweil was right again (3, Interesting)

weasel99 (941610) | more than 7 years ago | (#16064881)

Re:Kurzweil was right again (1)

mapkinase (958129) | more than 7 years ago | (#16065285)

Does anyone else see a problem with the picture in that reference? The format of the chart is quite unfortunate, because one has still to look at the distance between mindsteps on this chart not, say, to the form of the curve. And the fact that several systems are displayed at the same time blurs the picture even more. It is clear from comparison with the chart where mindsteps are generated using a square law. Try it yourself.

Emerging Nations (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16064887)

It's hilarious that the oldest civilizations on this planet like China and India are called "emerging nations"...

Re:Emerging Nations (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16064951)

It is only hilarious if you don't have a basic understanding of economic terms. This has no bearing on the "value" of the culture or the depth of the history.

Re:Emerging Nations (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16064995)

China has the 4th highest GDP in the world, India 12th. A lot of population behind those figures, but still not exactly coming out of the swamp economically.

The great thing about wireless (3, Interesting)

smilindog2000 (907665) | more than 7 years ago | (#16064950)

is it's super-low up-front costs, not for the hand-sets, but for an operator to offer initial coverage.

With wired service, you have to invest up-front, burying cable throughout a population center before you can acquire your first customer. With wireless, you put up one tower, set it for maximum range, and open shop.

A single WiMax tower can reach 40 miles in radius. After Katrina, Intel donated $5M in hardware, and was basically able to cover the Gulf Coast. Bell South says they'll needs between $700M and $900M, and they're still not done with repairs. That cost might be fair, but it shows the advantages in bringing in wireless cheaply. Here's an Intel link:

http://www.intel.com/technology/magazine/communica tions/hurricane-relief-1105.htm [intel.com]

I think we should be using cheap wireless technology for IP based emergency communications, enabling people to help each other so they wont have to wait for FEMA to arrive. Check out what hams do for free:

http://eng.usna.navy.mil/~bruninga/aprs.html [navy.mil]

A system built on the Internet model might enable neighbors to help each other, which is basically required after a mass disaster, since any emergency response team will be overwhelmed. Do you know how you'd find your neighbors after a disaster? How would they find you?

Re:The great thing about wireless (2, Informative)

Calinous (985536) | more than 7 years ago | (#16065009)

Intel was able to invest 5M and offer coverage to the Gulf Coast. BellSouth will invest $700M (or $1B) and get coverage, offering a total bandwidth maybe 2 000 times more than Intel could offer with their $5M. It's all in what you want - if what you want is minimal access, those $5M goes a long way - if you want something more bandwidth intensive, you're out of luck

Re:The great thing about wireless (1)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 7 years ago | (#16065073)

A system built on the Internet model might enable neighbors to help each other, which is basically required after a mass disaster, since any emergency response team will be overwhelmed. Do you know how you'd find your neighbors after a disaster? How would they find you?

By rights GSM phones should be able to work as point to point communicators over short ranges. In a disaster this would help, both when the cell goes down, and when the network is overloaded.

Unfortunately there is no way for the network operator to make money this way so the feature does not exist.

2.5 billion (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16065019)

2.5 Billion, eh? That sure is alot of cellphones. Gives me a headache just thinking about it. Sort of a burning, pulsating headache...

service... (1)

u235meltdown (940099) | more than 7 years ago | (#16065042)

and I still can't get any service at my house

2.5m more and the prophecy of... (1)

avasol (904335) | more than 7 years ago | (#16065070)

Ghost in the Shell will become real! ;-) Funny how it's called 'cell' too. So many cells, what will http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gaia_theory [wikipedia.org] think of next time....

emerging (1)

john_uy (187459) | more than 7 years ago | (#16065093)

it is not surprising - emerging nations have people without mobile phones
developing nations are saturated with some having more than 100% penetration

after everybody has mobile phones, let see where they will see growth. probably aliens?

Related Side Point (1)

NexFlamma (919608) | more than 7 years ago | (#16065139)

With that many cellular connections and users, you would think that by now we would have some solid data as to whether they cause the purported issues with irradiation and cancer that people would have you believe, and yet we have no evidence to support the idea that cellular phones have any carcinogenic properties.

Two possibilities come to mind;
  • Studies simply aren't being performed on this topic (which I doubt, as there are many groups out there who would love to be able to link something this widely used with dangerous cancers, such as the media and environmental activists)
  • There really is no danger of getting cancer from using a cellular (more likely, as with over a billion connections, we have yet to hear of anyone who actually got cancer and died due to phone usage)
Sorry to be somewhat off-topic, but the FUD surrounding cellular phones (and the fact that it's repeated to me ad nauseam by some of my more luddite co-workers) makes me rather upset.

Re:Related Side Point (1)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 7 years ago | (#16065159)

There really is no danger of getting cancer from using a cellular (more likely, as with over a billion connections, we have yet to hear of anyone who actually got cancer and died due to phone usage)

A phone might deliver a couple of watts of microwave radiation, but go up the spectrum to higher energy and we bathe ourselves in kilowatts of infrared all the time. If microwaves caused cancer what should radiated heat do to you?

We know that the worst you can get from IR is dry and possibly dead skin. No mutation, no tumors. Microwaves must be safer by comparison.

2.5 billion phones for 5 billion people? (1)

140Mandak262Jamuna (970587) | more than 7 years ago | (#16065148)

Take the number with a very large pinch of salt. Even accounting for multiple cell phone owning road warriars, the number 2.5 billion connection seems too large. I suspect GSM assoc is counting every SIM cards that were manufactured as a "connection". It must be including all the expired accounts, expired prepaid cards etc.

Re:2.5 billion phones for 5 billion people? (2, Informative)

arachnoprobe (945081) | more than 7 years ago | (#16065179)

Connections means "calls", not "phones".

Re:2.5 billion phones for 5 billion people? (1)

140Mandak262Jamuna (970587) | more than 7 years ago | (#16065303)

You mean there were 2.5 billion cell phone calls last year? That number is too small [*]. 2.5 billion active cell phones all over the world, seems to be a high number. 2.5 billion cell phone calls per year seems to be a low number. Hope someone has the time, energy and the inclination to dig the definition of the GSM Assoc's "connections" and the correctness of the numbers reported.

[*] Quick estimate: {1 in 4 in USA+Europe+Aus+NZ with cell phone & 1 in 10 in India+China with cell phone} = 450 million phones. 2.5 billion calls per year= 1 phone call every two months.

Re:2.5 billion phones for 5 billion people? (1)

nick1000 (914998) | more than 7 years ago | (#16065397)

Actually, its more like {1 in 2 in USA+Europe+China & 1 in 4 in India} = 1.25 billion
The question is can the rest of the world account for the remaining 1.25 billion. But if we take into account that the number in Europe + USA would be actually higher (esp. Europe). I think it is quite probable that there are 2.5 billion cellular phones are operational at any given time.

And if you see the title of TFA there are more than 2.5 billions cellular lines in the world not connections as /. summary states..

Re:2.5 billion phones for 5 billion people? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16065254)

I suspect GSM assoc is counting every SIM cards that were manufactured as a "connection". It must be including all the expired accounts, expired prepaid cards etc.

That's quite unlikely. They probably add up the number of customers of the different wireless networks. And while for prepaid cards there is indeed some uncertainty on what has to be considered an active customer, network operators ususally have the policy of clearing SIM cards from their customer base that have not been used for a certain time. This is due to the fact that (while having a high number of customers is nice) an important economic figure is the average revenue per customer, and you don't want that to be spoiled by a large number of customers with 0 revenue.

the gsm org doesn't agree with these figures.. (1)

billmcnamara (799238) | more than 7 years ago | (#16065173)

ticker counter at http://www.gsmworld.com/index.shtml [gsmworld.com] reports a mere 2 billion (If i count the 0's right) reminds me of the daily number of guinness pints consumed clock counter in the guinness brewery in dublin..

Re:the gsm org doesn't agree with these figures.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16065370)

ticker counter at http://www.gsmworld.com/index.shtml [gsmworld.com] reports a mere 2 billion

The ticker just reports the number of GSM/3GSM (AKA UMTS) users. 2.5 billion is the total number of mobile phones, including all other technologies besides GSM/UMTS.

Definition (1)

IAmGarethAdams (990037) | more than 7 years ago | (#16065175)

Not surprisingly, the countries with fastest growth are the 'emerging nations.'
Not surprisingly, a term is defined by its definition

Please don't call it viral! (1)

Chemisor (97276) | more than 7 years ago | (#16065200)

Please do not call cellular technology "viral". Everyone knows that this word is only chosen for its negative connotation. Real viruses can spread accidentally, while a voluntary act is required to make a cell connection. It's such an old, often repeated [slashdot.org] argument [slashdot.org] that it is a wonder that people still fail to understand it!

So, on how many of those connections (1)

hcob$ (766699) | more than 7 years ago | (#16065310)

is everyone saying... "What? I lost you there for a second." or "Your phone is acting funny, call me back when you're not in a bad area."

duh (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16065311)

. Not surprisingly, the countries with fastest growth are the 'emerging nations.'"


thats because everyone who is not in an emerging nation already has one...

Moo (1, Troll)

Chacham (981) | more than 7 years ago | (#16065326)

It took 20 years to reach 1 billion connections, three years to reach 2 billion connections

Wow, they hit two billion even before they hit one billion. Now that's fast.

Remember... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16065353)

KASHWACK=NO-FO

Ahh the cause of global warming has been found (1)

thorkyl (739500) | more than 7 years ago | (#16065459)

Ok folks, we now know what is causing global warming.

It's the 2.5 billion microwave ovens running around the world.

Let all turn off the cell phones for a week and cause an ice age.

--
If a frog can jump 3 foot how far can a toad jump?
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