A recent United Nations study within India revealed that the entire Indian population has greater access to mobile phones than toilets – highlighting the growth of mobile technology whilst pinpointing sanitation issues.
At the last count the number of mobile phones subscribers in India totalled 563.73 million serving almost 50 percent of the country’s entire population. Somewhat worryingly in comparison, only a third of the population had direct access to proper sanitation in 2008.
UN University Director, Zafar Adeel said: “It is a tragic irony to think in India, a country now wealthy enough that roughly half of the people own phones,” so many people “cannot afford the basic necessity and dignity of a toilet.”
It is widely recognised that poor sanitation has contributed to accelerating the spread of water-borne illnesses, which has killed an estimated 4.5 million children aged under 5 on a global scale.
Therefore it is somewhat startling that mobile phones and smartphones have taken such a hold despite the continuing poverty and dire living conditions across many regions of India.
India is one of the emerging BRIC markets along with Brazil, Russia and China and statistics suggest that there are more mobile phones subscribers in these countries than there are users of broadband, internet and television combined.
John Nendick, global media and entertainment leader for Ernst & Young said in a press release: “Global media and entertainment companies are increasingly focusing on the role emerging markets play in content consumption and creation. Leading global companies that fail to understand and optimize the opportunities in emerging markets may lose out on significant revenue growth.”