Dorcas Adeyemi had never even spoken to her grandchildren until she got to make a call on a mobile phone.
“My strongest memory of a mobile phone would be when I used one to call my grandchildren in South Africa for the first time," says 74-year-old Dorcas from her home in Lagos, Nigeria.
“They were born and raised there. I had never seen them before but I was able to talk to them as if they were here with me."
Dorcas is one of billions of people who have got access to mobile communications for the first time over the past decade. For many of these people, the mobile phone has been the first form of telecommunication for entire communities, opening up a wealth of possibilities in personal contacts, business opportunities and social benefits.
Mobile phone subscriptions reached the 4 billion milestone in 2008, up from 2.7 billion in 2006. The vast majority of growth in subscriber numbers is happening in emerging economies.
The arrival of mobile communication is bringing countless benefits to people and their societies, including:
Ericsson works actively to support the growth of telecom services in emerging economies, many of which face specific challenges.
In some, a lack of infrastructure means mobile networks have to be built from the ground up. Base stations may be located in remote regions, well out of the range of power grids and difficult to reach. Innovative solutions – such as hybrid power and our energy-efficient RBS 2216 base station – reduce the network’s dependence on power, meaning operators can service more remote areas and reach more people. Advanced radio network design, sometimes using fewer, larger sites, and sophisticated cell-planning, can make all the difference in sparsely populated regions.
Forward-thinking charging and billing systems can make telecommunications affordable to people in emerging markets, giving subscribers control over their communications costs and strengthening operators’ business offerings. Pre-paid and post-paid options together with electronic top-ups build a solid foundation for success. We also help operators with advanced approaches, such as our Dynamic Discount Solution, which lets them attract callers during low-traffic periods, optimizing network use and giving subscribers more ways to save money when they communicate.
There are some things that even Ericsson can’t solve, however. As much as she loves talking to her grandchildren, Dorcas finds her phone annoying at times. "It can be a pest. It chooses the wrong moments to ring, but I still love it. I sometimes call it ’Okere’ (squirrel) because of the funny ringtones that remind me of the little animals that live in the palm trees."