A mobile phone, a small gadget but big in terms of what it performs. How do you pronounce the name? Some call it mobile, some robile, some phone, some like the Swahili call it simu, rununu or rukono. Pronounce it any way you want but one thing always come out clear, a gadget that has taken the technological world by storm.
In the late 1990s, mobile phones were gadgets of treasure in Kenya. It was not easy for one to own a mobile phone in this country. Very few people had mobile phones by then. In most villages, the few privileged teachers are the ones who owned mobile phones and the gadget gave them more fame than the local village elder. Those who owned phones then could make calls in style, standing at strategic points and bending at a certain angle for the world to see them and even, walking in a manner that suggested that they carried with them one of the most coveted communication tool.
Things have long since changed. Mobile phones are now all over and with as little as 1000 shillings currently, one is able to go home with a brand new phone. Mobile phones are now as many as user. More than 32.2 million Kenyans own mobile phones now with more than 30 million being active subscribers with every subscriber making calls for an average of 85 minutes per month. The mobile industry has taken the Kenyan market by storm and anyone who is not in the train is probably leaving in Kenya physical but technologically absent.
Mobile phones in Kenya have taken over almost everything. The first causality of the mobile phone revolution was the old antiquated landlines. Do you still remember those telephone booths that were scattered all over and in order to make a call one had to be armed with enough coins? Those were the day when making calls was more tedious than lining up for a voting process as the lines were often long and tiring. The coming of mobile phones moved the landlines from the streets to the Intensive Care Unit and finally to the grave.
The information world took a new twist with coming of the mobile phones. The first to receive a blow were the radios. Before the coming of mobile phones, people used to buy radio gadgets from the streets so as to listen to news as well as getting entertained. When the mobile phones came with radios embedded unto them, the radio gadgets were moved to the gutter. The television as well as newspapers thought that they were safe, not until they received a shock from the internet enabled phones. People could now read and watch news and any form of information by the click of a button on a phone. Newspapers and Televisions had to change on their modes of operations and adapted what is commonly known as the ‘digital platform.’ At the moment, people receive breaking news almost instantly from all over the world and by the time the newspapers are out in hardcopy, news consumers are already fully satisfied with the news as well as the information.
Camera and recorder is another significant feature that came into being thanks to the coming of the mobile phones in Kenya and in the world. All phones nowadays have cameras with high resolution that has enabled people to take pictures and videos putting away the once ancient huge gadgets that used to perform the same. Some mobile phones even have video editing as well as production features making the gadget a full production house in itself.
The banking industry in the country is in a landslide reform and soon the whole system will be mobile enabled. Statistics have indicated that Kenyans transact close to 500 billion shillings annually on average via the use of mobile phones. Nowadays, it is not easy to see people yawning while on winding queues waiting to transact in the banking halls. People just bank and withdraw funds within their comfort zones through mobile phones and even have access to loans. Equity Bank for instance, made headlines when it unveiled its own sim-card specifically for its customers as well as other interested parties.
If you are still getting lost around any town and you own a mobile phone then you do not know what your phone is made of. Mobile phones nowadays have maps, google maps call them that gives their users directions to any destinations. The age of hanging maps on the wall so as to see places has long been forgotten. The book industry, though at a slow pace is impressing the mobile technology. People are now reading book online, thanks to the internet and with the government planning to fully initiate the much publicized digital error, learning will soon fully go mobile.
Shopping has also been taken over by the mobile technology. The advent of online shopping has greatly changed the economic world. People nowadays no longer go to the shopping malls physically but only use their mobile phones to order for goods which are then delivered to them. Online markets are Jumia and OLX are doing great on the Kenyan market.
And finally, the church is not the same anymore. The mobile revolution has taken over. Preachers are delivering summons online and even offerings are via mobile. There are actually many things that the mobile phone has taken over. Below are just a few of the inventions that have been replaced by mobile phones:
The mobile phone is a world in its own. The revolution train is on, everybody is climbing aboard anyone who is out, is out of the world.
Article by Juma Fred.