At the beginning of 2000, India had 1.6 million cellphone subscribers; today there are 125 million -- three times the number of land lines in the country. With 6 million new cellphone subscribers each month, industry analysts predict that in four years nearly half of India's 1.1 billion people will be connected by cellphone.The article has received considerable attention among bloggers.
That explosive growth has meant greater access to markets, more information about prices and new customers for tens of millions of Indian farmers and fishermen.
A convenience taken for granted in wealthy nations, the cellphone is putting cash in the pockets of people for whom a dollar is a good day's wage. And it has made market-savvy entrepreneurs out of sheepherders, rickshaw drivers and even the acrobatic men who shinny up palm trees to harvest coconuts here in Kerala state.
"This has changed the entire dynamics of communications and how they organize their lives," said C.K. Prahalad, an India-born business professor at the University of Michigan who has written extensively about how commerce -- and cellphones -- are used to combat poverty.