Here is an interesting map about cell phone usage. (although, i have to say, its a bit hard to translate…and it seems to have some contradicting data…but I am probably not reading it right…)
There are lots of little interesting things to notice as you move around and look at different countries.In many countries for example there are 2 cell phones subscriptions for every one person. Im really curious to know why. Is it because you need different companies to get complete coverage across an area? Do people just really like their cell phones?
The more interesting thing to me is the ratios of land lines to cell phones. Just scrolling around I only saw one country that has more land lines then cell phones and that is, unsurprisingly I suppose, N. Korea. Scrolling around various developing nations its crazy how quickly cell phone use has risen compared to land lines. It makes sense of course, the time and money investment to run a physical wire to a house is huge, then you have to do that for every house. Its much easier to put up a single tower that serves hundreds of houses. There are still big costs and issues to figure out (like unreliable power…), but over all it is more cost effective.
Of course all of this is just technology. In the end the most important part is how this technology impacts people. There is of course debate about the roll of cell phones in the developing world, but if it is something you are interested in this article is really interesting. The basic idea though is that cell phone companies are learning what people in totally different economic, environmental, and social situations need out of a cell phone. And people are finding really creative ways to use cell phones to increase their connections to other people, and economic opportunities.