At least 87% of the world’s rural population has cell phone coverage

According to the ITU:

In 2003, only 23 per cent of rural populations in Africa were covered by a mobile cellular signal; this coverage had improved to 79 per cent by the end of 2012. Mobile cellular coverage in Asia nearly doubled from 45 per cent in 2003 to 87 per cent by the end of 2012. Even in Oceania where some of the most remote countries in the world are located, 84 per cent of rural populations were covered by a mobile cellular signal by the end of 2012, up from 60 per cent in 2003. [link]

Screen Shot 2015-02-14 at 4.41.09 PM

Zimbabwe’s government blocks mass texting before July 31st election

With the clock ticking to the July 31 poll … web portal said it had noticed this week that its mass text messages were mysteriously getting lost. Its provider, Econet Wireless – Zimbabwe’s largest mobile phone firm with 8 million subscribers out of a population of 13 million – declined to comment. However, a senior company source [said] “We have just been told we cannot be facilitating bulk SMSs during the elections, roughly for the next two or so weeks,” the source said. “Our understanding is that they will take our network down or cancel our license if there is any violation.” [link]


Tall tales of exotic adventure

Wherein young Abubakar bamboozles a newspaper reporter, claiming his athletic prowess is rooted in his childhood hunting zebras with spears in northern Nigeria. The reporter falls for it, hook, line and sinker. 

Five years ago, Abubakar Suleiman was hunting zebras with spears and trying to avoid antagonizing cheetahs. There was a school where he lived, in rural northern Nigeria, but he had barely been there in his 10 years. He found the teachers cruel, the pidgin English impossible…

[After moving to Boston] Suleiman … placed first in javelin. “I have a technique,” he said with a wry smile. The zebras… [link]

Mourning Madiba in Advance

I was at a party tonight with a journalist who was on deathwatch, checking their phone constantly for news that would unleash an avalanche of prepared panegyrics and hagiographies. And I don’t blame the media at all. Nelson Mandela means so very much to us that it’s hard to let him go.

Madiba is hanging onto life by a thread at the precise moment when South Africa seems to have dived into the bowels of hell. Our heroes are falling one by one, our police don’t protect us, and our politicians are weak and vicious. And we’re hanging onto Mandela as though our lives depend on it, not his; when what we should be doing is using the great gift of introspection that he gave us to pull ourselves from the wreckage. [Link]

Pat Robertson thinks that, but for the Ivy League and its intellectual snobbery, we’d have more people raised from the dead in America. He explained … why “amazing miracles … happen with great frequency in places like Africa, and not here in the USA.”

“Cause people overseas didn’t go to Ivy League schools! [chuckles] Well, we’re so sophisticated. We think we’ve got everything figured out. We know about evolution, we know about Darwin, we know about all these things that say god isn’t real….overseas they’re simple, humble, you tell them God loves them and they say “okay he loves me.” And you tell them God will do miracles and they say “okay, we believe you.” And that’s what God’s looking for. That’s why they have miracles.” [link]

How to Text Someone You Love, 9ja style

Ogunbiyi: “I came across these contemporary love text message books by chance and was first introduced to Love Text Message books by Moses, one of my uncle’s domestic staff. He said to me, “Sista’, come and see this text whe’ I fit send my girlfriend”. I asked him a ton of questions about where he got it from. Then I started buying these books – I collected about 50. They’re small, 32 or 34 pages, and typically they’re sold for [the equivalent of one USD]. I was fascinated … this fabricated love that people are actually using … the low literacy rates among people who use these books, why they pick particular ones over others. This guy, for instance, he couldn’t barely write or read so it was curious to see him holding onto this book, carrying it everywhere he went. [link]

BTW, there are American versions of this same thing, such as this book. Really, though, there should be an app for that.

Facebook goes after the developing world with free access over phones

The trick is that Facebook Zero is free, benefiting from what’s known as zero rating by the phone companies. Accessing it doesn’t rack up any data fees, which are a big deal in emerging markets, where almost everyone is on a prepaid plan. (In countries in the developing world, the average monthly spend on mobile connectivity, which is often just voice and text, is 8-12% of the average take-home pay of a cell phone user, says Nathan Eagle, CEO of opt-in mobile ad network Jana.)

In the 18 months after Facebook Zero launched in Africa, the number of Africans on Facebook ballooned by 114%. It’s hard to directly link that growth to Facebook Zero, but it’s easy to see how they could be related. (In the 10 months since then, the number of users of Facebook in Africa grew only 18%.) In Kenya, which is typical for the continent, 99% of access to the internet is accomplished on mobile devices, almost all of which are either feature phones or even more basic models capable only of voice and text messaging. Facebook is now so popular in Africa that the site is driving the adoption of broadband internet, just so users can have faster access to all those pictures and status updates. [link]


Source: The one reason a Facebook phone would make sense