The extent to which cell phones are changing the world is eloquently captured in Sara Corbett’s recent article in the New York Times. Read ” Can The Cellphone Help End Global Poverty?” to gain insight into how the cell phone has and is changing the lives of millions of people all over the world- and in particular in the developing countries. A longish article but if you are interested in global trends of consumerism, here’s one article you can’t miss.

It speaks of the Jan Chipchase’s job-and a fascinating one at that. He is a ” human behaviour researcher” for Nokia and travels the world to find out what consumers and potential consumers would like to see in the Nokia phones. Reading about Chipchase’s travels and the extent of detail he goes into to find out his consumers’ needs makes you believe that Nokia- as their by line goes – is truly “Connecting People”

As Corbett writesTo get a sense of how rapidly cellphones are penetrating the global marketplace, you need only to look at the sales figures. According to statistics from the market database Wireless Intelligence, it took about 20 years for the first billion mobile phones to sell worldwide. The second billion sold in four years, and the third billion sold in two. Eighty percent of the world’s population now lives within range of a cellular network, which is double the level in 2000. And figures from the International Telecommunications Union show that by the end of 2006, 68 percent of the world’s mobile subscriptions were in developing countries.”

I can relate to this story as I see thousands upon thousands buying cell phones every month in India. A recent report in the Hindustan Times says that India has overtaken the US to be the world’s second largest mobile phone market, after China.

When I said “thousands upon thousands” I said so from my perspective as a lay man. The Hindustan Times article says that new connections average 8 million a month! The mobile phone is no longer a symbol of wealth, as it was when it first entered the markets in India years ago. Today, it symbolises convenience. Making it possible to stay in touch conveniently with your customers, your family and virtually everyone else.