This Week in Global Mobile | March 18, 2011

At times it's difficult to keep pace with the latest global mobile developments. I hope this selection of news stories from the past week will help you navigate the growing global network of connectivity:

  • The government of Cameroon asked mobile operator MTN to ban SMS Twitter messages, claiming the service was being used to organize illegal protests.
  • Nearly half (47%) of all American adults access local news on their mobile phones or tablet computers, reported Pew.
  • The U.S. embassy in Kabul partnered with a local organization to launch a $4 million telecommunications infrastructure project in Afghanistan.
  • Google launched its Gmail SMS service in three African countries to continue its efforts towards increasing e-mail access in the developing world.
  • Speaking before a Senate hearing on Internet privacy, the White House and chairman of the F.T.C. threw support behind new Web “Do-Not-Track” privacy measures.
  • Internet provider AT&T announced that it would begin to cap Web use among its DSL users, charging users $10 for exceeding 150GB of data per month.
  • Latin America’s online population grew 15 percent in 2010 to 112 million people, according to ComScore.
  • A report out of the Russia-based Public Opinion Foundation predicted that 80 million Russians will gain Internet access in their homes by 2014, bringing penetration to 71 percent.
  • The Middle East and Africa will enjoy a 10.7 percent increase in IT spending in 2011 to spur e-government development, reported research firm IDC.
  • Planning to replace credit cards with mobile wallet features in its next line of phones, Blackberry manufacturer RIM locked horns with various mobile operators about which party would maintain control over customers’ mobile banking information.
  • Meanwhile, Google announced that it would be testing its own NFC-based mobile payments solution in New York and San Francisco in the near future.
  • Mobile app downloads approached 8 billion around the world in 2010, reported ABI Research.
  • Smart phone shipments increased 74 percent in 2010 to 295 million units, with shipments expected to reach 1.2 billion worldwide by 2015.
  • To free up bandwidth in crisis-stricken Japan, the U.S. military blocked access to YouTube, ESPN, Amazon, and other popular services earlier this week.