Our industry is a double-edged sword. On the one hand mobile connectivity is touted as the lifeblood of socio-economic development in the underdeveloped world. On the other hand, depending on your geographic location, operators are increasingly labelled pawns and accomplices of repressive regimes wanting to stifle freedom of expression and monitor the movement of their people.
As media organisations, non-governmental groups and analysts observed, one only has to look at the operation of telecoms companies, including MTN, in
The truth is that the cellular network industry is behind a revolution to bring high-speed Internet access and next-generation telephony to millions of users who previously had little or no access to even the most basic telecoms services.
Working in partnership with large multinational handset manufacturers and telecoms companies, we are stretching the boundaries of the telecom grid to encompass even the most distant and remote areas, connecting the unconnected, thus becoming the force for good in empowering, uplifting communities and ushering life changing experiences.
However, either way we know it is difficult to satisfy everybody in democratic countries and perceived pariah states alike. It comes with the territory. Mobile telephony and access to such technological advancements has wider social implications that underline equity, natural justice and more.
While proponents have valid reasons to argue that such a right propels wider social and economic indicators, critics also find many challenges in this approach. However, the critics, often scantily, deal with how the role of mobile telephony in driving economies and connecting communities has become the common thread in some of the world's most iniquitous economies.
In their rush for judgement, detractors have failed to grasp that mobile telecommunications is not just about offering a service; it enriches lives, connects people and shapes the future, whether in
By taking advantage of leaps in technological advancements, the mobile industry is enabling access to information, healthcare, education and finance in some of the most underdeveloped parts of the world.
Mobile telephony has not only enabled people to make a voice call, but connected people to economic opportunities and accelerated the integration of previously marginalised nations into the mainstream of the global economy. As we speak today, the mobile sector is a major driver in global commerce.
For example, the GSMA Mobile Economy 2013 report estimates that in 2012, revenues of mobile operators contributed
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