New York Times Magazine: “Can Cell Phones Help End Global Poverty?” Nokia’s Jorma Ollila Calls the Technology a “Great Equalizer”

By on 04/11/2008 11:19 PM @beet_tv

Cell phones are having a profound effect on the economies of the emerging nations, according to an article in this Sunday’s New York Times.

Sara Corbett followed Nokia researchers around the globe to report on how the proliferation of mobile phones is creating commerce and new opportunities for many just stepping out of poverty.  It’s a very interesting story.

Earlier this week in Manhattan, Nokia chairman Jorma Ollila said that the mobile device is a "great equalizer" among people.   We captured his comments during an awards presentation for Finland’s Millennium Technology Prize.  He was interviewed on stage at the New York Academy of Sciences by Jason Pontin, editor of MIT’s Technology Review. (The photo here is of me and Ollila.)

Also this week, I interviewed Andrew Viterbi, the physicist whose pioneering work in wireless telephony for spacecraft in the 1950’s led to the development of mobile phone technology.  Viterbi, one of the creators of CDMA, the ubiquitous mobile technology platform, is a co-founder of Qualcomm.   He told me how delighted he is that nearly half the world’s population have cell phones, something that could never have been accomplished with landlines.  Viterbi is a finalist in the Finnish tech prize.

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