Thursday, July 24, 2008

trippin philippina

well, let's just say it's been a tad busy since last i blogged. there was a trip to hong kong, a conference in the philippines, vacation on the softest sand and in the turquoisest water, Ashe, camp, house buying and selling, and of course my research.

in manila i had the extraordinary experience of witnessing how closely the mobile phone is interwoven with a culture. everyone - and i mean everyone - has a mobile, or 2. even the catholic church in manila has set up a service sending daily catechism via text to parishioners.

philippinas are a people who have completely embraced this communication vehicle. according to John Barrett, senior analyst, asia-pacific, at pyramid research inc. in massachusetts, the philippines has the highest rate of SMS usage (text messaging) in the world. between 1998 and 2001, total mobile subscribers increased 550% to 11.1 million from 1.7 million. today it is estimated that there are over 48 million mobile phone subscribers in the philippines, sending 1 billion text messages every day. compare this to the total of 10 billion messages that all Canadians sent in 2007. oh yeah.

i chatted with a young (23 yr old) woman in the cebu airport and asked her why i saw so many people holding 2 phones - often looking at the screen on the 1st while dialing on the 2nd. she explained that it was a way to beat network cross-charges - i.e. call your "Bell" friends on your Bell phone, and your "Rogers" friends on your Rogers phone. i love it - grassroots arbitrage at its best. the developed world may not have riches, but there is a wealth of good research on mobile phone use taking place within the philippine academy. go south-east asia, go!

L8R, R
(ne1 can undRst if th will is thR, IMO. nuf Z)

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