images.jpegI’ve often said that mobile phones, not smartphones but plain old-fashioned mobile phones, are probably the ereading choice of the world. That’s because a huge part of the world still lives in poverty, but even in those conditions a mobile phone can often be had.

Now comes data that shows that Africa has over a half a billion mobile phone subscribers. Cellular-news reports:

At end-3Q10, Africa accounted for 10% of the world’s mobile subscriptions and was one of the world’s fastest-growing regions – with the subscription numbers increasing 18% over the year to September – as a result of the still low mobile penetration rate on the continent as well as demand for new services, such as mobile Internet access, that increase the need for telecoms connectivity. …

Over the coming five years, the strongest growth rates in mobile subscriptions are expected to be recorded mainly in East and Central African markets, with Ethiopia, DR Congo, Eritrea and Madagascar forecast to see mobile subscription numbers increase by more than 100% by 2015. Africa’s first mobile network was launched in Tunisia in 1985, so 2010 marks the twenty-fifth anniversary of mobile telephony on the continent.

Nokia and Vodafone make phones specifically for this developing market and Wattpad has become a platform that has a world wide readership on simple no-frills phones. The Wattpad platform currently supports over 1,000 models of mobile phones.

Despite all the play being put into devices such as the OLPC reader, I wonder if the simple mobile phone, with a service like Wattpad, may be the real techno-force pushing literacy around the world.

Thanks to IntoMobile.


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