Arming Up With Cell Phones


A great article in Forbes about the ongoing revolution in communications, and a profile of a man making big money off the poor and oppressed, but in a good way:

Despite coups, corruption and kidnappings, cell phone maverick Denis O'Brien keeps pouring money into the world's poorest, most violent countries. His bet: Give phones to the masses and they'll fight your enemies for you.

How did he decide to get into the business of building cell towers and selling phones in Papua New Guinea, Fiji, Haiti, Honduras, and El Salvador?:

O'Brien spotted a 3-inch-square ad in the Financial Times inviting bids for a mobile license in Jamaica. He likes to say he was drawn to the region because of all the Irish "troublemakers" banished there by the English after a 1649 invasion. But the real pull was that this was a country where only the elite had access to phones. In a place like that, he could get the masses to love him.

Strange by-products of brand identification:

In an April riot in Port-au-Prince, Haiti the mob not only spared Digicel stores from its burning and looting but even gathered in front of a few of them and cheered. 

More on the amazing power of cheap cell phones here and here.

Via Club for Growth