Thursday, May 1, 2008

Cell phones, beggars, coolies and India

I love cellphones. I am not a gadget freak. But, i can't live without cellphones. They are my lifeline. My heart literally pounds when I try to call my beloved ones and when they do not respond. I bet that that is the case with almost everyone who reads this. Just imagine this- In late 1999, when I got my first cellphone ( by default), it was a marvellous piece of equipment for me. " Equipment", because this an important component in my job. Once, while I was working in Manjeri, I remember some lads hooting at me when they saw me speaking on the phone . I got pissed off, but I should have remembered that owning a mobile phone then was considered to be a privilege of the bourgeosis class. Those were the times of Rs 8/minute mobile calls and nobody could even imagine a 22 yr old chatting away to glory for hours together.

2008- India overtook the U.S as the country with the second largest mobile phone subscribers, next only to China. India's teledensity is around 25, which means that out of every 100 people in India only around 25 have mobilephones. Considering that the saturation point is about 75, consider the potential India holds. No wonder all the international operators are making a beeline to the country which until recently considered owning a landphone as a luxury of thenchosen few. Beggars and coolies have mobile phones. Engineers and doctors own them too. So do toddy tappers, cobblers, blacksmiths etal. The Ambanis and Tatas use the same newtork too with no preference. It is no more a luxury but a big necessity. India has one of the cheapest call rates in the world and a youth population of more than 60%. SMS,MMS etc etc are keywords to any mobile user in India. In 2 years time, there will be a technological revolution with the launch of 3 G services. To those who are not familiar with 3G, it is a broadband connection on your mobile phones- of course on a 3 G ( UMTS) handset. That would mean using internet while on the go at speeds greater than 1 Mbps while on the go.

I am just mesmerised with how India has adapted considerably to technological changes. In telecom for example, it is way ahead of other nations-including many developed countries. Most of the handset manufacturers have set shop in India. The majority of the youth are gizmo geeks. I won't hoot back at those Manjeri lads if I see them again with their sleek gadgets.


ambili said...

Even Sasi tharoor had remarked abt cell phone being the symbol of india's adaptation of the 21st century.
U might find it interesting to read a passage of the same from his latest book Elephant,Tigers and CEll Phone .:)

Minu said...

and people in india are very comfortable using complicated high profile gadgets, even compared to the western world