There have been plenty of stories in the past about poor third world communities that are shipping right over the idea of landlines and going directly to mobile phones. Apparently, in Bangladesh mobile phones are changing some lives. The mobile phone companies have come up with a system where the give a mobile phone at a cheap rate to women in villages - nicknamed "phone ladies" - who then go around the village and resell use on the phone to other villages. The women who are "employed" this way say it's a great source of income and has really empowered them. The folks who get access to the phones are happy about their ability to communicate beyond their village, to keep in touch with friends and relatives - while also being able to find better deals on business transactions. Of course, the article leaves out some things concerning mobile phones in Bangladesh, such as a recent plan to ban mobile phones for anyone under the age of 16 because they were afraid of the radiation. It also doesn't mention how they turned off all mobile phone networks during a recent election to keep people from communicating. Clearly, the culture is still in an adjustment phase in figuring out how to deal with this technology.
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