Hello,

We noticed you're browsing in private or incognito mode.

To continue reading this article, please exit incognito mode or log in.

Not an Insider? Subscribe now for unlimited access to online articles.

Cellular Continent

Fragile economies, poor infrastructure, and political instability have made it difficult to introduce new technologies into Africa, with one major exception: cell phones. With few computers or land lines available, these phones are used for a wide range of applications, including digital payments and banking. They’re also used to access online applications such as Ushahidi, a mapping platform that can monitor outbreaks of violence (see TR35, September/October 2010). International telecommunications companies such as Vodafone are trying to expand rapidly throughout Africa, because it’s one of the last places in the world with a large supply of potential customers who don’t already own a cell phone (see “Going from Calls to Connections”).

Want more award-winning journalism? Subscribe to Insider Basic.
  • Insider Basic {! insider.prices.basic !}*

    {! insider.display.menuOptionsLabel !}

    Six issues of our award winning print magazine, unlimited online access plus The Download with the top tech stories delivered daily to your inbox.

    See details+

    Print Magazine (6 bi-monthly issues)

    Unlimited online access including all articles, multimedia, and more

    The Download newsletter with top tech stories delivered daily to your inbox

/3
You've read of three free articles this month. for unlimited online access. You've read of three free articles this month. for unlimited online access. This is your last free article this month. for unlimited online access. You've read all your free articles this month. for unlimited online access. You've read of three free articles this month. for more, or for unlimited online access. for two more free articles, or for unlimited online access.