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Not Just Teenage Kicks

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In my last blog, I said that the mobile is now a vital tool letting people access essential services. You’ll also see that we say elsewhere on the website that mobile telecommunications are vital for economic competitiveness and in promoting social inclusion. Well, we would say that, wouldn’t we? But it happens to be true. And a couple of recent reports provide some further illustrations of the benefits of mobile connectivity.

First, a survey for the e-Learning Foundation and the TES revealed that a fifth of teachers think it ‘essential’ for children to be able to surf the web to be able to do their homework properly, while 61% think it ‘advisable’. Since many families access the Internet using mobile broadband - over 4 million people do so via a laptop and dongle - and as younger people are more likely to use mobiles for web and data access than older internet users generally, that’s a lot of homework benefitting from mobile networks.

Second, and this time on a different issue and from outside the UK, ‘The Lancet’ reported a study showing that that just sending a text message to Kenyan HIV patients, reminding them to take their drugs, significantly improved their treatment. The study authors conclude that mobile phones might be effective tools to improve patient outcome in resource-limited settings. Now, Kenya is outside our remit, but this example illustrates a wider point.

That point is that mobile telecommunications can help improve education and healthcare, and aren’t just there so that my daughter can text her friends to tell them she’s just downloaded the latest video of ‘The Wanted’. Come to think of it, that in itself would be helping the UK economy, since DCMS reckons that the creative industries contribute a whacking 6.2% of the UK’s Gross Value Added. Not all of that is the music industry, of course. And none of the groups she listens to are anywhere near as good as ‘The Undertones’ or ‘Runrig’. But that’s just my opinion.

 John Cooke

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Mobile Operators Association

The Mobile Operators Association (MOA) represents the four UK mobile network operators – EE (the company that runs EE, Orange & T-Mobile in the UK), O2, Three, and Vodafone – on radio frequency (RF) health and safety, and related town planning issues associated with the use of mobile phone technology.

The Economy and Society

Mobile telecommunications are vital for the UK’s economic competitiveness and in promoting social inclusion. There are now 89.9 million mobile subscriptions in the UK. In early 2015 61% of UK adults used their mobile phones for internet access. Tablet ownership is 54% of UK households, increasing from 44% in Q1 2014.