Reported on: August 21, 2012 15:12 PM
Reported in: International
Washington, Aug 21 (UNB) – Around three-quarters of the world’s inhabitants now have access to a mobile phone and the mobile communications story is moving to a new level, which is not so much about the phone but how it is used, a new report released recently by the World Bank and infoDev, its technology entrepreneurship and innovation program.
The number of mobile subscriptions in use worldwide, both pre-paid and post-paid, has grown from fewer than 1 billion in 2000 to over 6 billion now, of which nearly 5 billion in developing countries. Ownership of multiple subscriptions is becoming increasingly common, suggesting that their number will soon exceed that of the human population.
According to Information and Communications for Development 2012: Maximizing Mobile, more than 30 billion mobile applications, or “apps,” were downloaded in 2011 - software that extends the capabilities of phones, for instance to become mobile wallets, navigational aids or price comparison tools. In developing countries, citizens are increasingly using mobile phones to create new livelihoods and enhance their lifestyles, while governments are using them to improve service delivery and citizen feedback mechanisms.
“Mobile communications offer major opportunities to advance human and economic development - from providing basic access to health information to making cash payments, spurring job creation, and stimulating citizen involvement in democratic processes,” said World Bank Vice President for Sustainable Development Rachel Kyte.
“The challenge now is to enable people, businesses, and governments in developing countries to develop their own locally-relevant mobile applications so they can take full advantage of these opportunities.”
This new report, the third in the World Bank’s series on Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) for Development, analyzes the growth and evolution of mobile telephony, and the rise of data-based services, including apps, delivered to handheld devices. The report explores the consequences for development of the emerging “app economy”, especially in agriculture, health, financial services and government, and how it is changing approaches to entrepreneurship and employment.
“The mobile revolution is right at the start of its growth curve: mobile devices are becoming cheaper and more powerful while networks are doubling in bandwidth roughly every 18 months and expanding into rural areas,” said Tim Kelly, Lead ICT Policy Specialist at the World Bank and one of the authors of the report.
The evolution of technology has now reached the technology convergence age, leading to the convergence of media and services. Telecommunications technology has changed from analog system to digital system. Therefore, new applications that have been developed, such as VoIP and multimedia information transmission can be conducted through all forms of media, both fixed or wireless.
The operators must compete to provide services, allowing consumers to recoup the greatest benefits. The convergence of technology and media also covers broadcasting technology, which in the past has been separated from telecommunications technology. The change from analog to digital has allowed the integration of the two technologies and it is now difficult to separate them, as can be seen in many countries where television broadcasting has switched from analog to digital system.
The benefit is not only the improvement in television picture and sound quality, but the efficiency in the signal transmission and reception has also improved. This allows for a two- to three-fold increase in the number of channels within existing frequencies. The surplus frequency from the abolition of analog can be used in other communication services or broadcasting. This also reduces inequality in accessing information and knowledge.
Broadcasting can be carried out in all media, including TV in the form of internet protocol TV (IPTV) or using internet protocol for computer TVs (mobile TV).
This involves the transmission and reception of video signals by communications equipment such as mobile telephones, laptops, PDAs, and others. This greatly opens up access to information and knowledge.
Source – Saudi Gazette