The Day Communication Died In Nepal
By Mike Masnick, Sat Mar 05 00:30:00 GMT 2005

The King of Nepal seized power last month and turned off all mobile phone communications. Citizens of the country are discovering just how much they relied on mobile phones for communications -- and just how difficult life is without them.

In a poverty-stricken democratic country where a constitutional monarch has seized control and suspended civil liberties, it would seem that there may be bigger concerns than whether or not your mobile phone has service. However, for many in Nepal, the status of their mobile phone service is a very important issue.

As with many developing countries where wired telecom services are not well deployed and expensive to obtain, it looks like mobile phone service has leap-frogged wired telephone service for many. Small business owners have come to rely on mobile phones to communicate, and many are in serious trouble as a result of the loss of communications. Some are selling off assets, resorting to other methods to sell their wares, and hoping every day that mobile phone communications return.

What's amazing is just how quickly and thoroughly mobile phones became a part of society in Nepal. While most of the talk about mobile phone use focuses on the developed world, this should serve as a (somewhat unfortunate, given the circumstances) reminder of just how valuable mobile communications can be to those in places where technology advancement has been lacking for so long -- and just how devastating it can be to have that same communications technology taken away so abruptly.