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Assignment Life without a Cell phone: Economic and Social Aspects

Department of Economics Government College University, Lahore

Life without a Cellphone: Economic and Social Aspects


Hey, are the signals back? One says with extremely tensed and depressed expressions on the face, as if something very precious has been taken away from a person. Also, when would be the networks working again, life is boring, gloomy and empty; adding more colors to it, hundreds of comics and pictures were depicting the same and related feelings. On the other hand, we also heard some people saying that these three days were very peaceful, without tension and the hustle bustle. I had a wonderful sleep, was able to do many pending tasks and the list goes on. Cellular phone is what I am talking about; a necessity of an individuals life these days. Recently in Pakistan, the mobile networks were jammed in order to protect the common public, because of the threats being received of terrorist attacks on Muharram-ul-Harams gatherings. The interior minister for the federation has ordered the mobile companies to block the mobile networks from 8th to 10th Muharram, as the mobiles are being used as a weapon to do bomb blasts and due to the conflicts that may arise because of Sunni-Shia differences. This ban was criticized by the public as banning the networks can never be a permanent solution for the stoppage of the rising terrorism. Due to no network coverage people were not able to contact each other in emergency situations and can strengthen the problems, but it actually helped in saving lives as well. Before analyzing whether the life without a cell phone is a good or bad, is cell phone a blessing or a curse, and its social and economic aspects, here is a brief background of telecommunication industry in Pakistan. The Telecommunications Ordnance of 1994 created the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA); Pakistan's first independent telecommunications regulator, and the Pakistan Telecommunication Company Ltd (PTCL); a state-owned monopoly. Due to a lack of

Life without a Cell phone


Economic and Social Aspects Economic Analysis

competition, local telephone call rates were high and international call rates were even higher. During the 1990s, a call to United States cost $5 per minute (300 Pak Rs. per minute), which was not affordable for most of the population. In addition customer service was poor; fixing a problem might take 10 to 15 days. Despite this, consumers had to stick with PTCL, as they had no other options. In January 2004 the Ministry of Information Technology issued its Mobile Cellular Policy with objectives to: Promote efficient use of radio spectrum; Increase choice for customers of cellular mobile services at competitive and affordable prices; Encourage private investment in the cellular mobile sector; Recognize of the rights and obligations of mobile cellular operators; Provide for fair competition among mobile and fixed line operators; and Provide an effective and well defined regulatory regime that is consistent with international best practices. The mobile telecommunications sector is seeing very large year-to-year growth in Pakistan. Approximately 90 percent of Pakistanis live within areas that have cell phone coverage and more than half of all Pakistanis have access to a cell phone. With 118 million mobile subscribers in March 2012, Pakistan has the highest mobile penetration rate in the South Asian region. According to the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA), Mobilink continues to lead the market with 35.7 million subscribers, followed by Telenor with 29.3 million, Ufone with 23.1 million, Zong with 15.6 million, and Warid Telecom with 14.3 million. All telecom companies are working to broaden their networks in the Azad Jammu and Kashmir and Northern Areas, which were largely ignored until recently. Five of the seven Agencies of the tribal areas have mobile coverage. Pakistanis collectively sent over 151 billion text messages during the year 2009. Nokia has cited Pakistan to be producing the third highest SMS traffic in the world in 2010. The major networks operating in Pakistan are: Mobilink, Ufone, Warid, Telenor and Zong. The major cellular companies whose cell phones are prominent and loved by the public
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Life without a Cell phone


Economic and Social Aspects Economic Analysis

are Nokia, Samsung, Sony, HTC, Apple, Blackberry and some low cost Chinese and Korean mobile cellphones are also getting popularity. In this era of huge technological advances, one cannot simply neglect the benefits of a cell phone. The world is turning into a global village; it is becoming so fast and furious with continuously changing trends. Generally speaking, few years back, a person who cannot read or write was considered to an illiterate, but now, a person who does not know how to deal with the technology is considered backward and illiterate. Although I dont completely agree with this statement as it all depends upon the needs of an individual and literacy is not only about this. But this phenomenon does exist. From owners of big businesses to vegetable vendors of small towns cell phones can be seen with almost all people of the world today. Teenagers and colligates, people busy talking even while they are driving. Cell phone is useful in quite a massive number of ways, which are as follows; Communication has become easy, you can talk to your family, friends and relatives in no time. Just dial a number and youre connected to them even if they are residing in the remotest areas of the world. Longer distances, no longer are distances, as the cell phones are coming with many high technological features that you can talk and see the individual on the other side at the same time. This gives a feeling of closeness. It has benefitted the people whose relatives are living abroad either for education, jobs or for any other reason. With the help of cell phones businessmen constantly stay connected with their employees. They also receive all crucial information related to their and other competitive business and can thus act strategically. Using a cell phone in business allows for increased flexibility when working, which has numerous advantages. The more flexible you are, the greater the chances you can show clients your business is the one to go with. For example, if you're away from the office, clients can still communicate with you. Scheduling meetings becomes easier because you're not tied to a computer or desk. You can even conduct a teleconference via cell phone while you're on the go or traveling. Cell phones increase your ability to multitask.

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Life without a Cell phone


Economic and Social Aspects Economic Analysis

One can effortlessly call a person or get help in emergency situations, unlike the landline phones, if one faces any emergency outside the home, he/she can immediately call the rescue, police, fire brigade, hospital and can inform the family or friends.

Short messaging service (SMS) is one of the perfect ways of communication and has greatly helped the people who are busy in their lives to stay connected when they dont have time to call and explain. It makes you feel associated with your friends even if they are not physically present.

Cell phone can impressively help to remind about the vital tasks one has to do in a day. Instead of holding a big diary; you can simply make a To-Do List on your phone. It helps as an alarm, it acts as a reminder and it helps you never forget the significant events like birthdays, anniversaries and other important days.

The innovation of camera and video in the cell phone helps to capture any memorable event without holding the big cameras every time. (Cameras still exist and are useful but the cell phones camera made life handy and easy).

The latest technology cell phones usually called SMART phones are having a feature of Windows, WLAN and Wi-Fi, which enables the user to get connected to the social media via. Internet. One can quickly share any piece of information he/she wants, can get any detail and help regarding education, general knowledge, check mails, and know the latest news, movie shows, can learn many new things, can increase his/her creativity and bring innovations.

SMART phones are also equipped with GPRS and navigation systems. If you own a mobile phone having inbuilt navigation systems, you will never get lost even if placed in unknown areas. Such cell phones provide you with details of every direction for reaching your destination.

Cell phones have become an important aid in locating and catching hold of many criminals who would otherwise have escaped. The police are able to track criminals by tracking the location where his cell phone is using GPS. All calls made and received from a cell phone are recorded and provide vital information regarding crime and criminals.

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Life without a Cell phone


Economic and Social Aspects Economic Analysis

Cell phones have completed altered and transformed the way people communicate and live their lives and have become an inseparable part of our lives. Along with all the above mentioned advantages; cell phones also have many drawbacks which are as follows: Cell phones usage had reduced the importance of the person sitting with you at home. The people living far away have become closer and the ones sitting beside you are being ignored. Communication gap is rising. There was a time when people used to make calls and send letters, cards, gifts physically in order to celebrate an event is being confined to the cell phone, one can simply send a message describing all the feelings, which is good but sometimes it isolates an individual. The use of cell phones while driving can cause accidents as the attention is diverted, due to which a person may lose his/her life. Due to the continuous emission of harmful radiations from the cell phone, excessive use of cell phone can be dangerous; it can cause headaches, migraine, loss of focus, and even cancer. Use of hands-free (wired/blue-tooth) can at times pass on loud sounds to our ears which can result in weakening of ear-drums. Nowadays, one can download songs, so keeping the hands-free glued inside your ears for long hours can really affect the sensitivity of ears in the long run of life. It can effect ones education as excessive use become addiction and the opportunity cost of using a cell phone appears to be more attractive than the opportunity cost of studying. Students will get diversion with cell phones; they are spending a lot of time with cell phone chatting and browsing online through their smart phone and reduce their studying activity. Most of the students are turned as cell phone and online addicts which is a great shortcoming. It can be a big time distraction and nuisance in calm and silent places like libraries, cinemas, restaurants, etc. Some cell phone users lose the sense of deciding when and where they can talk on the cell phone and where they cant, without slightest consideration for the fellow beings around. Ones mind can never relax while using a cell phone The importance of nature has been reduced because of the cell phones
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Life without a Cell phone


Economic and Social Aspects Economic Analysis

The employees, who receive work-related calls outside of normal work hours, whether on a company-provided phone or a personal cell phone, may feel an imbalance between their work and personal lives. It can be difficult for an employee to enjoy time away from work when her duties spill over into family, social and rest time. This can increase employee stress, reducing the ability of employees to manage work tasks effectively.

Cell phone communication, at the workplace causes distractions during work. An employee who has to stop work tasks throughout the day may suffer from decreased productivity, which can cause the employee to miss deadlines or put in extra hours to complete projects on time.

Besides all these disadvantages, if one person use the cell phone in limits, it can be beneficial, as excess of everything is bad. It is up to an individual how he/she uses the technology, it can be helpful, it eases ones life, but with excessive use, nothing can be more harmful. As said by Henry David Thoreau; Men have become the tools of their tools. Life without a cell phone doesnt make a difference actually; its only about the perception and the need of the time. When there was no cell phone, people were still alive, and they can connect in some way. To cope and adjust with the advances in the technology is the need of time. One cannot simply remain isolated in this era of technology. To keep in touch and strategically deal with the world in all matters you have to improve your standards as well, but in a balanced manner. Balance is the key to success. The mobile revolution has already begun, and as cell phones continue to be adopted globally, the telecommunications landscape will undoubtedly continue to grow and change. Cell phones do indeed have a significant impact on economic growth and development. Increases in the cellular mobile subscriptions rate contribute to increases in real per capita GDP. In addition, cell phone use has a small, but significant impact on GDP growth rates. The use of cell phones by individuals of all ages, irrespective of the differences of their jobs and income has added a lot to the fast growing mobile industry. Keep aside some exceptions; No matter if people have food to eat or not, they do own a cellphone. The incomes of cellphone sellers, mobile company owners and their employees have risen. The continuous use of cellphones; either your SIM is prepaid or postpaid adds to the incomes of

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Life without a Cell phone


Economic and Social Aspects Economic Analysis

shopkeepers, easy paisa concept helping in making more money from commissions, banking sector is spending on the use of mobile technology in order to ease the consumers and in return have a tremendous increase in their own earnings. All this indirectly helps to flourish the economy, employment level is rising, and incomes are increasing. Along with this, the buying and selling via internet through cellphones helps to develop the economic activity as well. Keeping in view, all the economic and social aspects, a life without a cell phone in this era can be regarded as a bird in the cage, the bird, at first feels uncomfortable, but then he realizes that he can't get out so he accepts his fate gradually. But this is not the solution, to survive living in this era one cant live like a bird kept in the cage, one has to connect with other individuals in a faster manner. However, the limits are necessary. Excessive use cause distractions and many important tasks can be neglected, both socially and economically. One has to determine the right priorities for the right time to get success and achievement of the goals.

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Life without a Cell phone


Economic and Social Aspects Economic Analysis

References
http://digitalcommons.bucknell.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1003&context=honor s_theses http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/topics/topic_technology.html http://rivr.sulekha.com/advantages-and-disadvantages-of-cell-phone_295902_blog http://smallbusiness.chron.com/disadvantages-cell-phone-communication-workplace12818.html http://expertscolumn.com/content/disadvantages-cell-phones http://benefitof.net/benefits-of-cell-phones/ http://smallbusiness.chron.com/advantages-cellular-phones-business-4016.html http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Telecommunications_in_Pakistan

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