While past technologies, such as TV and the Internet, left large numbers of people behind, creating a so-called digital divide, mobile handsets could help bridge it, if just slightly.
According to the latest findings from the International Telecommunication Union, which released its ICT Development Index (IDI) for 2008, there are now around 4.1 billion (with a B) mobile subscriptions in the world. That brings the global penetration rate to about 61.1 percent.
For the developing world there is still a ways to go. Reuters has recently noted that while just one in 50 Africans (or two percent) had a mobile phone in 2000, the number is up to 28 percent, but beyond allowing people to communicate much still needs to be done in the way of mobile assistance with things such as mobile banking and sharing of information beyond just talking over a long distance in remote areas.
And there is a concern that the economic slowdown could see the growth also slow. Research from Gartner shows that in the fourth quarter of last year, mobile phone sales fell about 4.6 percent to 314.7 million units compared to the fourth quarter of 2007.
Third Screen Being Seen More
Americans with the capability to watch TV on a mobile handset are starting to do so. And while the third screen isn’t quite the preferred method for prime time viewing, it is on the rise. According a study from the Nielsen Company, mobile actually ranked higher for viewing video than even Internet video.
Key findings of the study as it relates to mobile:
- Teen viewership rank the highest in watching video on mobile devices
- More men than women watch video on mobile phones, but women actually account for more eyeballs with traditional TV and online
Rumors and Release: $50 T-Mobile Plan in the Works?
Is T-Mobile planning to reward select customers with a $50-a-month unlimited talk plan? That’s what the unconfirmed rumors seem to suggest. The program, which those rumors cite, could start as a test in San Francisco offered to loyal customers.
If this is true it could spark a new round of mobile pricing wars, but the winners would be those who like to gab on the go.