01 March 2008

Bringing the poor online

The mobile-phone industry returned from its mammoth annual trade show, 3GSM, held earlier this month in Barcelona, gloating over its successful year. More than 3 billion (almost half the world’s population) now have mobiles, and the price of a phone has sunk as low as $25. There are now more mobile-phone subscribers in poor countries than rich ones. That would have been unimaginable a decade ago. But the next digital hurdle—providing internet access—will be much harder to surmount, for both economic and geographical reasons.