A pilot SMS service run by Reuters, called Reuters Market Light, was launched two years ago in the Indian state of Maharashtra. RML has been sending market rates for agricultural produce to farmers based on their location or based on markets they've selected. And local weather narrowed down to 50 km radius. And localized agricultural news. And crop advisory, preventive measures and pest attack warnings, based on whatever crops farmers have selected. The service has now spread to many other states in India and won much acclaim from farmers and the government.
It is amazing to see what a difference mobile services can make in a country like India, traditionally bereft of proper wired telecom services. A significant part of the country's land mass is now within the range of a cellphone tower. A lot of rural India now has cellphone connectivity. Mobile phones have made it easier for rural folk to get better information about everyday issues, easier access to the internet, the government, etc. Reuters' service takes this one step further.
With mobile coverage increasing, 'Broadband' over mobile phone spectrum becoming more common in the country. So it is no longer unusual to see internet availability over GSM based EDGE and CDMA 1x in very small towns, places where the incumbent telecom operator never took much interest in providing such services.
If the internet has made a difference to people's lives in cities, imagine how much it can change lives in regions that lack proper communication facilities.
Disclosure: I am associated with Reuters Market Light.