The spread of mobile telephony, especially among the poor, is one of the greatest public-policy successes of all time. Not because government officials went around identifying the deserving poor and handing them telephones manufactured in government factories, but because they focused on removing barriers to participation in the supply of communication services and allowed private suppliers and customers to collectively evolve new business models that connected hitherto unimaginable numbers of people at hitherto unthinkably low prices.
The mobile revolution was building up a head of steam from the 1990s, but really took off at the turn of the century, with massive growth occurring in South Asia since around 2004. That is when LIRNEasia started work, with a focus on South Asia. At the urging of Randy Spence we began the Teleuse@BOP demand-side survey. Its results have gained much media attention, but we were too busy communicating the results to policy makers and the media to put a lot of effort into scholarly publication, other than in our 2008 book and a few academic publications.
But now we have an entire issue devoted to analyses of Teleuse@BOP results in the leading journal in the ICT for Development field, Information Technology and International Development.