I have always been fascinated by how quickly the cell phone became part of people's lives in India. From the flower seller sitting on the street to the stock broker in an office, everyone started relying on the cell phone for business, medical help, social interactions etc.
I just returned from a trip to India and while I continued to remain amazed at the different ways the cell phone was being used, what completely caught me by surprise was the government passing a budget of Rs.7 crore to provide cell phones to a segment of the population that could not afford one! In a country where a large percentage were under the poverty line, where food, clothing and education was unaffordable by many, the fact that a cell phone was considered necessary for basic living was very intriguing to me.
This suggests that if we were to come up with a new Maslow hierarchy of needs the cell phone would find a place close to the base of the pyramid. So if you have food, clothing and a cell phone, perhaps you can do a lot!