Mobile dealings

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Mobile phone usage is so ubiquitous in Sri Lanka today it’s not unusual to see even informal/petty vendors being able to afford and use one. Pictured here is a seller of “blessing strings” at the shrine of ‘Sella Kataragama’, in Sri Lanka’s Moneragala district. He sells one if these for just 20 rupees. Even if he sold just 10 of these a day, that’ll be enough to pay for a ‘reload’ top-up with ample pre-paid talk and text time. In fact, with 200 rupees he could probably even afford a basic monthly post-paid package if he wanted to! According to a recent UNFPA-IPS report on the youth dividend in Sri Lanka, over 60% of youth in rural areas possess a mobile phone. The deregulation of the telecoms industry has truly brought a new wave of access and affordability. But are we using this massive mobile penetration enough? Could we do more?

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