The NY Times has a great story on mobiles in India. From 1997 to 2000 I experienced as a student how the introduction of cybercafes in Delhi – at the time far more expensive then their Sri Lankan counterparts per hour – changed the way I communicated with family back home and Indians communicated with family out of Delhi and abroad.
There are aspects the NY Times article does not touch upon, more disturbing. India has repeatedly asked Blackberry to allow access to its secure network. There is also the need to critically look at the impact of mobiles on strengthening the participatory nature of democracy, especially at local government level. It is not clear for example in Sri Lanka that heady mobile growth has contributed meaningfully to better governance at the grassroots or national level.Evgeny Morozov’s Texting Toward Utopia: Does the Internet spread democracy? is key reading in this regard, and a useful flip side to the optimism of the NYT article.