Sunday, February 01, 2009

The Grassroots Mobile Revolution in Africa

It didn't take us long to find it. After all, mobile phone masts aren't that easy to hide, and Masindi is a tightly-knit, flat little west Ugandan town. After a few short minutes, driving past countless mobile phone dealerships, internet cafes and village phone operators, there it was.

I was last in Masindi in 1998, not that long ago in the grand scheme of things, but a lifetime in the short history of the mobile phone. Back then this mast wasn't there, and neither were any of the mobile phone shops, internet cafes and village phone operators. The only phone line out of town - if and when it was working - was courtesy of the local post office. Every couple of weeks we would drive here to collect our post from the Ugandan Wildlife Authority, post our letters, have a cold beer, buy a few ‘luxuries' and occasionally attempt to phone home. No text messaging in those days.

Read more here.