Sean King

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Knoxville, Tennessee, United States

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Cell Phones as Tools for Political Reform?

Bernard Condon regarding Denis O'Brien: He sums up his strategy thusly: "Get big fast. [Damn] the cost. Be brave. Go over the cliff. [The competition] doesn't have the balls." O'Brien doesn't let government obstructionism or corruption deter him. He dots countries with cell towers, sometimes before rulers even grant a licence, then slashes the price of mobiles on opening day to get the masses using them fast.

It's a bet that poor people who have never had phone service before won't let the politicians take their phones away without a fight. Thus does O'Brien avoid the fate of many Western investors in corrupt, violent countries - being forced to sell out on the cheap.

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