Telecom and the Super-Empowered Global Middle Class

Telecom and the Super-Empowered Global Middle Class

Just 12 years ago, in writing a research memorandum on the future of global telecommunications, I noted the oft-quoted estimate that roughly half of the planet's population had never made a phone call in their lives. Fast forward to today, and best estimates are that 55 percent of the planet owns a mobile telephone. Factor in that the highest rates of growth are occurring among the poorest and most disconnected populations, where communal use of cells is the norm, and it seems likely that this pool of phone-call virgins has been cut in half -- or better.

With virtually universal cell-phone use predicted by the International Telecommunication Union within the decade, and mobile broadband access to the Internet via cell-phones following close on its heels, it seems clear that we're living through the most rapid and pervasive revolution in personal connectivity in human history.

So what does this super-empowering phenomenon mean for the future of globalization? It means the "tail" of the emerging world's gargantuan middle-class population will soon "wag the dog" that is the global economy, as class-consciousness quickly segues into brand-consciousness.

Keep reading for free!

Get instant access to the rest of this article by submitting your email address below. You'll also get access to three articles of your choice each month and our free newsletter:

Or, Subscribe now to get full access.

Already a subscriber? Log in here .

What you’ll get with an All-Access subscription to World Politics Review:

A WPR subscription is like no other resource — it’s like having a personal curator and expert analyst of global affairs news. Subscribe now, and you’ll get:

  • Immediate and instant access to the full searchable library of tens of thousands of articles.
  • Daily articles with original analysis, written by leading topic experts, delivered to you every weekday.
  • Regular in-depth articles with deep dives into important issues and countries.
  • The Daily Review email, with our take on the day’s most important news, the latest WPR analysis, what’s on our radar, and more.
  • The Weekly Review email, with quick summaries of the week’s most important coverage, and what’s to come.
  • Completely ad-free reading.

And all of this is available to you when you subscribe today.