Celebrating 50 Years Of The Mobile Phone

The first call from a mobile phone was made 50 years ago. Since then, the cellular phone has gone from a communicator to a life assistant.

Following The Institute for Business in the Global Context (IBGC) at The Fletcher School’s open house on October 12, a panel discussion was held to celebrate a watershed moment in technology – 50 years of the mobile phone.

Bhaskar Chakravorti, Fletcher’s Dean of Global Business, as well as other leading experts in the field delved into the past, present, and future of mobile technology. Panelists included:

  • Esko Aho: Former Prime Minister of Finland and Executive Vice President at Nokia
  • Bengt Holmstrom: Nobel Laureate, Paul Samuelson Professor of Economics at MIT, and former board member of Nokia
  • Iqbal Quadir: Founder of Grameenphone, Bangladesh, and the Legatum Center at MIT
  • Jenny Aker: Professor of Development Economics at Fletcher

The panel discussion was a strategic discourse on the journey of the mobile phone industry and touched upon what the mobile phone has meant to the world over these past 5 decades of its existence and where it might take us in the coming years. Panelists shared their insights on topics ranging from the impact of the mobile phone on productivity and development to inclusive growth.

Digital Inclusion

The panelists discussed digital inclusion and the scenarios to create a more inclusive and accessible global economy. The conversation highlighted the leadership needed to earn people’s trust and the importance of access, affordability, usability, and proficiency in the developing world to be truly inclusive and close the digital divide. Everyone in attendance was left imagining what comes next … and the possibility to create a more inclusive and accessible global economy, together.