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.

Christopher Mims

A View from Christopher Mims

3G Smart Phones Are an Effective Form of Population Control, Says Indian Telco

In a TV spot remarkable for its light treatment of the issue, India’s !DEA cell carrier suggests more entertainment will be the solution to the pressure of the country’s burgeoning population.

  • September 12, 2011

They say bed is the poor man’s opera – but what happens when all of us have access to all the opera – er, entertainment – we want? A new advertisement for India’s !DEA cell carrier posits that couples who have 3G-connected smartphones with access to unlimited amounts of entertainment will stop having babies.

India’s IDEA cell carrier has found a whole new way to market mobile entertainment

The ad suggests “that there will be ‘No Aabaadi, No Barbaadi’ because people will be ‘3G pe Busy,’” but you don’t have to speak the language to understand its message:

The idea is simple – whenever there’s a blackout, people rediscover amorous pursuits. But if they have smartphones in hand, they’ve at least got an alternative to TV. Unfortunately, that’s not the case in real life. Studies of the effects of blackouts on birth rates find that people are not more likely to conceive when the power is out.

It’s nothing short of remarkable that India is a country that can joke about both its population problem and birth control, but all kidding aside, there is one level on which this message could be true. Empowering women is the shortest route to bending the curve of future population growth, and wireless access to the internet could be one way to make education more accessible in the developing world.

Want to go ad free? No ad blockers needed.

Become an Insider
Already an Insider? Log in.
Want more award-winning journalism? Subscribe and become an Insider.
  • Insider Plus {! insider.prices.plus !}* Best Value

    {! insider.display.menuOptionsLabel !}

    Everything included in Insider Basic, plus the digital magazine, extensive archive, ad-free web experience, and discounts to partner offerings and MIT Technology Review events.

    See details+

    What's Included

    Unlimited 24/7 access to MIT Technology Review’s website

    The Download: our daily newsletter of what's important in technology and innovation

    Bimonthly print magazine (6 issues per year)

    Bimonthly digital/PDF edition

    Access to the magazine PDF archive—thousands of articles going back to 1899 at your fingertips

    Special interest publications

    Discount to MIT Technology Review events

    Special discounts to select partner offerings

    Ad-free web experience

  • 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+

    What's Included

    Unlimited 24/7 access to MIT Technology Review’s website

    The Download: our daily newsletter of what's important in technology and innovation

    Bimonthly print magazine (6 issues per year)

  • Insider Online Only {! insider.prices.online !}*

    {! insider.display.menuOptionsLabel !}

    Unlimited online access including articles and video, plus The Download with the top tech stories delivered daily to your inbox.

    See details+

    What's Included

    Unlimited 24/7 access to MIT Technology Review’s website

    The Download: our daily newsletter of what's important in technology and innovation

/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.