It’s hard to find someone who doesn’t own a mobile phone nowadays (smart, flip, slide, etc.). According to the Pew Research Center, it is estimated that 95% of American adults own a mobile phone. On the international scale, GSMA data reports that 66% of people own a mobile phone. The latter number might seem low to you as it did to us when we first read it, but back in 2013, TIME reported that more people around the world had access to mobile phones than they did to toilets. While that statistic is eye-opening, it reaffirms a statement that has become truer as the years have passed – the mobile phone is a basic necessity in today’s age.
PEW RESEARCH CENTER
Given the amount of attention placed on the federal Lifeline program over the past decade, it is safe to say that the American government agrees. If you are unfamiliar with the Lifeline program, it is an American government program established in 1985 that provides a discount on phone service for qualifying low-income consumers. Currently the minimum service standards, set by the FCC, oblige state Lifeline programs to provide at the very least, 750 minutes of talk, 1 GB of data, and 3G speed. However, starting December 1st, 2018, the minimum standards will be increased to 1000 minutes of talk, 2 GB of data, and 3G speed.
TruConnect is on the frontlines of advocating legislation to extend these benefits to more Americans in need of these services. We have a lot of faith in the Lifeline program and strive to continue to be the best Lifeline provider out there.
There are several serious and important benefits that accompany owning a mobile phone, other than the extremely useful ability to instantly text and call your family and friends. The economic benefit is enormous. GSMA Intelligence reports that in 2017, mobile technologies and services generated $3.6 trillion to the global economy. This number reflects the productivity that mobile phone services and technologies added to the workforce. That number is expected to increase by $1.0 trillion in 2022. Aside from the economic benefit, mobile connectivity gives people better access to job opportunities, healthcare, and financial services. The people around the world currently without access to a mobile phone are at a statistically objective disadvantage. The people without access are on the losing end of what is known as the ‘Digital Divide’.
However, the statistics on mobile phone owners are only half of the story. The major benefits associated with owning a mobile phone don’t fully apply to the people without access to broadband. Access to broadband, better understood as data provided through a phone service, is necessary to perform any of the main functions on the cell phone when away from Wi-Fi. Mobile phone owners with no access to broadband are barely a step above those with no phone at all, unless said owner is living in a highly populated area. Apps like WhatsApp, TruText, and WeFi will have them pretty well covered due to the high density of public Wi-Fi options available. But for those not living in highly populated areas, the issue of broadband is debilitating to their economic and personal situations – the ‘Digital Divide’.
We have repeatedly made our stance clear on aiming to help bridge the Digital Divide. Therefore, we are continually working to make our mobile phone service plans affordable. A quick look at our business model over the years reveals our commitment to the low-income consumers in the United States, a subset of people often overlooked. From our partnerships with state governments to our continual expansion in the international sector, we have made great strides since our founding in 2011 to help bridge this Digital Divide.