Mobile phones are seeing a surge in popularity in Africa. Telephone landlines are slow to roll out across rural Africa, leaving difficult to access areas without fixed phone lines and internet access. Mobile towers solve the problem, by making mobile phones accessible. According to the Guardian, in the Democratic Republic of Congo there are only 10,000 fixed-line telephones, but more than 8 million mobile subscribers. In Chad, mobile phone usage jumped from 10,000 to 200,000 in three years. And in all of Africa, mobile phones had a penetration rate of 30.4% in 2007. Mobiles also have a cost advantage, being less expensive than landlines. Using this easily-accessible technology to bring email into the hands of users has some great advantages, including:
- Increased opportunities for business and entrepreneurs
- Access to mobile banking through email
- Reduced vulnerability and isolation thanks to access to information and affordable communication
Access to email via mobile phones has even more benefits. Example include fleet management, emailing job applications, receiving crop price information and affordably communicating with people from around the world for the cost of a local SMS. With so much to gain, we hope the mobile phone will continue to rise in popularity so the benefits can keep more people across Africa connected.