Friday, August 19, 2011

Cell Phones Create Lifesaving Connections

About 50 percent of the population in Honduras lives below the poverty line. It may be surprising that about 75 percent of the population owns or has access to a cell phone. Why would someone who struggles to get by each day spend money on a mobile phone?

The main purpose of a mobile phone is connection. For many of impoverished Hondurans living in rural areas, this connection could mean a great difference in livelihood. Not only do many people want to stay in touch with relatives and friends who have moved away, but also the mobile phone connects rural Hondurans to medical services even if they are miles away. They can reach doctors during a medical emergency, or even receive text message reminders on when to take medicine.

Cellular network providers have picked up on the emerging market that is the developing world. Digicel, a network provider in both Honduras and Panama increased its costumer base by approximately 46 percent last year. The company now has about 1.6 million subscribers between Honduras and Panama.

Digicel and other cellular networks have realized the potential that mobile phones have in the developing world, both for their company, and their costumers.

-Sami Ressler