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The 21st century has been dominated by rapid development in ICT and mobile communication (mobile phones, internet, social networking, electronic banking, fibre optics), lowering communication costs and contributing to time-space compression.

Mobile phones

The first mobile handheld cellular phone was produced in 1973 by Motorola. At the time they were considered a highly luxurious good with only the richest in society able to afford them, however due to high demand they have become commonplace at a much lower price since the mid-1990's (in 2022 75% of Africans owned one). They extend flows of information beyond landline networks, increasing these flows as more can access them.


Founded in 1983, much like with mobile phones it grew in popularity most significantly in the mid-1990's. In fact, the invention of mobile phones catalysed the growth of the internet, as through them anyone could access a web browser. The use of broadband internet, a wide-bandwidth data transmission system, particularly in the 1980's and 1990's allowed for larger amounts of data to be transported through cyberspace, and at faster speeds, increasing flows of information.

Social networking

Social networks have become commonplace, especially on mobile phones, since the founding of Myspace in 2003 (again, mobile phones have massively facilitated their growth in popularity). They allow people to communicate for free, unlike with landline networks, with the majority of apps providing free phone calling services too. Some notable founding dates include Facebook in 2006, and Instagram and WhatsApp in 2010 (funnily enough Facebook now owns both of these companies). Facebook recorded 3 billion likes in 2023.

Electronic banking

Now a standard feature on mobile phones, this has revolutionised the way in which firms conduct business transactions, and has made it significantly easier for remittances to be sent (payments from an individual back to their home country). Businesses are now able to keep track of production anywhere in the world, analyse sales data anytime and invest instantly. In Kenya, the equivalent of 1/3 of the country's GDP is sent through their M-Pesa banking system each year. Farmers use the app to check the market price of their crops before selling to make sure they are charging a fair price, and the majority of citizens use their M-Pesa bill receipts as proof of good credit to secure loans from the bank.

Fibre optic cables

Fibre optic cables have existed since the 19th century, however it was only in the early 2000's that the technology was suitable and robust enough to be used on a global scale. Their introduction increased the volume and speed of data able to flow through cyberspace. Today there is over 1 million kilometres of subsea cables connecting countries to one another.

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