Restricted mobility

On my travels it’s not unusual for me to find a dozen or more Village Phone operators in a single village. It’s also not unusual to find them with pretty-much the same phone, quite often the same price plan, and the same signs and posters. And just to rub it in, their shops and kiosks are often the same colour, too. Standing out from the competition can be quite a challenge in an environment like this, but it can be done.

Making a phone call on a Village Phone can hardly be called a private affair. First of all you’re likely standing out in the open, the phone owner usually hangs around a couple of feet away, and children crowd around because that’s what children do. In an attempt to break the mould – and gain a little competitive advantage – this Village Phone operator decided that customers should be allowed to put some space between her, the children and their private conversation. So her customers can take the phone ‘away’ somewhere where it’s a little more private. To stop them running off with it, she attaches a length of wire which leads back into her shop. Simple, but clever.

Maybe the wire could double up as an aerial extension for places with poor reception (now there’s one for Nokia to consider, or Motorola in this case)?

Sometimes, living in a wired world can have its advantages…

Further reading
Unplanned adolescence“, a Fast Company article on what happens to Village Phone operators when local mobile ownership increases (and my response to that), and “Africa’s grassroots mobile revolution – A traveller’s perspective“, a photo essay I wrote a couple of years ago for ‘Vodafone receiver’

33 thoughts on “Restricted mobility

  1. Pingback: changefeed
  2. Pingback: Ken Banks
  3. Pingback: WITNESS
  4. Pingback: iPayStation
  5. Pingback: Shikoh Gitau
  6. Pingback: haamid99
  7. Pingback: hetal mavani
  8. Pingback: Douglas Bowlby
  9. Pingback: Ryan Turner
  10. Pingback: Iris Lapinski
  11. Pingback: OLPC NYC
  12. Pingback: jranck
  13. Pingback: Emeka Okoye
  14. Pingback: AppLab
  15. Pingback: shaherose
  16. Pingback: Carmen Martin
  17. Pingback: Edward Cable
  18. Pingback: Afrika Kabissa
  19. Pingback: Hana Dusuky
  20. Pingback: Ken Banks
  21. Pingback: Micael Herkommer
  22. Pingback: Micael Herkommer
  23. Pingback: eric omanga
  24. Pingback: eric omanga
  25. Pingback: Deborah Elzie
  26. Pingback: Alexa Joyce
  27. Pingback: Alexa Joyce
  28. Pingback: Allison Hornery
  29. Pingback: Parvathi Menon
  30. Pingback: Ssozi Javie
  31. Pingback: blogs of the world
  32. Pingback: Murat Mutlu

Comments are closed.