December 24, 2010

Even Without Electricity, Cell Phone Companies Attract Customers in African Markets

An article in the New York Times today features the challenges of a rural Kenyan woman who has no access to electricity to charge her cell phone, and purchased a solar panel in order to provide a constant source of power.

The interesting subtext of this article is how important the cell phone has become in African markets, the potential for access to information and communication, and the leapfrogging of traditional communication and power generation sources. Given a limited income and need to budget wisely, the woman in the article not only chose to spend a relatively large sum on a cell phone, but also to invest in a solar panel to keep it charged.

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