From the rather isolated Midwestern United States it appears that most of us are absolutely ruled by our cell phones. They don’t just act as phones but as GPS devices, video players, audio players, as links to the entire internet, and subscriptions to the live games of our sports teams. We spoiled Americans are glued to them day and night. Of course, in less developed countries people don’t have enough income for cell phones so they can be much more in tune with their friends and families. One of the blessings of poverty is, after all, the absence of cell phones.
Yeah, forget it! The title of this blog should have been “The World is Ruled by Cell Phones”. I’ve just been to the Persian Gulf and am making my way through India. I’ve got news for you: nearly everyone on the planet has a cell phone! Why? Because in less developed countries cell phones are cheap and the phone plans are unbelievably inexpensive. I’m telling you, no one in India pays even close to $500 for a smart phone. If you tell an Indian that you pay $100 a month for your cell phone bill, he will think that you’re absolutely insane.
In India you can purchase a brand new cell phone (not a smart phone) for 1200 rupees, which is the equivalent of $ 18.00. Here, my Samsung Android smart phone that cost me $500 in the US will cost an Indian only $123.00 (8,000 rupees). In India you can get a plan for 31 rupees that allows you to make 350 text messages. That’s 8 paisa per message. A paisa, by the way, is 1/100 of a rupee. You can’t buy anything for a single paisa, in fact they don’t even mint paisa coins any more. In a country where one orange costs 500 paisa, a text message costs less than one paisa!
Even beggars in India have cell phones. As you walk the street, if you give a beggar a few rupees he will phone ahead to his fellow beggar and say: “Hey the American with the green hat coming toward you; he’s an easy mark … he gave me 100 rupees.” I haven’t been to Africa, but I’m told that cell phone usage is rampant there; even in the most remote areas. In some more isolated areas of Africa cell phone minutes are used as currency.
Like it or not, there’s no going back. The entire human population is hooked on cell phones!