Free Market Rings Up 4B Cell Phones Worldwide

6 in 10 connected, thanks to private biz
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 3, 2009 2:37 AM CST
A Kenyan man talk on a mobile phone at a shop selling Safaricom products in the Kibera slum in Nairobi, Kenya.    (AP Photo/Khalil Senosi)
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(Newser) – The global explosion in cell phone use is a timely reminder of what free markets can achieve, David A. Gross writes in the Christian Science Monitor. There are now more than 4 billion mobile connections worldwide, two-thirds of them in developing countries, according to a new UN report. This leap from just 1 billion in 2002 was made possible by open markets, Gross notes.

Market reforms in poor nations allowed competition and innovation to thrive, Gross argues. Those  billions of cell phone subscriptions could soon be joined by billions of wireless internet connections as well, he adds. If governments can resist the lure of protectionist measures, economies will continue to grow,  and "the free flow of information will empower those seeking a better future for themselves and their children," Gross concludes.