chapter  8
Mobile Media on Low-Cost Handsets: The Resiliency of Text Messaging among Small Enterprises in India (and Beyond)
Pages 12

As we refl ect on the nature of mobile media, it is tempting to focus on the leading-edge, considering elegant applications in the hands of technosavvy users, running on advanced devices and over fast data networks in the centers of global digital innovation. There is, however, another equally remarkable side to the rapidly changing environment of mobile communications; thanks to low-cost hardware, prepay tariff plans, and the rapid deployment of network infrastructure in the developing world, hundreds of millions of people who previously could not afford or access landline telephones are purchasing mobile phones. Indeed, the majority of mobile subscriptions are now in the developing world, and, in these markets, lower-cost, simple handsets like the Nokia 1100 are still the leaders by volume.1 Although these handsets are used predominantly for “traditional” person-to-person voice calls and text messages, there is a variety of mobile media applications which are supported by or designed specifi cally for even the most basic of mobile telephones. An exploration of these applications raises important questions for this volume, and can add depth and breadth to how researchers and media scholars describe and conceptualize “mobile media” in general.