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If I Were To Ask You To Explain How Mobile Phones Work   
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When I was a child I found a lot of things amazing. I used to wonder how the airplane was able to fly in the sky. I also wondered how the people on our television set got in, and I always looked into the radio to find out if I will find people hiding in there. I didn’t see those pieces of gadgets as technology. I found most of them to be mysterious.

I recall asking my teachers, parents and friends a lot of questions and I know they found me irritating because they couldn’t answer my questions. Not only could they not find answers, they simply didn’t know where to look.

Decades after my childhood, I still find a lot of things wonderful. I read about technology and get engineers to explain things to me but I still find them amazing. I find it difficult to understand how phone calls are processed and how video clips are sent within micro seconds. I can’t understand how pictures get sent instantly.

If I were to ask you to explain how a mobile phone works or how your video gets transferred, will you able to explain it?

The only difference between the time I was a child and today is that I have access to the internet and so I don’t need to go round asking too many questions. Not that asking questions are bad; the issue is that the people you ask must themselves have the knowledge to tell you or the understanding to teach you what they know.

This is where the internet comes in handy. The internet makes things easier for me. It has millions of information; sometimes too much information for one subject area; but it does make life easy. As we may all be aware, the internet is a global computer network providing a variety of information and communication facilities and we all have access to it through our telecoms providers in Ghana, with MTN being the leader.

I know that many Ghanaians rely on mobile phones for many reasons. Many more people have access to the internet via their mobile phones.

But with the increasing number of people who use the internet how many of them ever stop to think about how the technology works.

How much investment do telcos have to make to ensure that we all have access to the internet? How do villages in the north, south, east and west get connected? Anytime I receive a whatsapp message, open a video on YouTube or send someone an email, I ask myself the same question over and over again.

As we all continue to use technology which has become a part of our lives we seem to have forgotten about the days when we used to go to the post office to buy a stamp, to post letters or book a call.

There is no denying the fact that the telecom industry is one of the most critical industries in the world and in Ghana as well. Indeed telecommunications has transformed everything in this world including Education, Medicine, Security, Business, Relationships, Religion, Entertainment, Parenting, Tracking, Monitoring and Buildings. The telecoms industry is also responsible for driving economic growth. Indeed I can’t think of any industry, sector or venture that does not rely on telecommunications in one way or the other.

In a bid to improve our lives we also need to understand what it takes for telcos to provide these services.

These include the building of masts, towers, switch centers, data centers and depending on supplies. It also includes working to get electricity, fuel, permits, land and the requisite expertise. It takes a lot of effort and capital investments to run a telecoms company. For example, MTN Ghana stated in a recent public engagement that it has invested about $2.4b in its network since it acquired the company in 2006. Other telcos invest as well. If they do not invest their businesses will collapse because they simply cannot match the rate at which the technology changes.

So anytime you pick your phone and begin to make a call remember that a lot goes into making a phone call and if you don’t understand how the technology works, just go to the internet.

With access to the internet you can educate yourself about anything including how a plane flies, how video clips are sent and even how to bake turkey.

Now teachers, parents and older siblings don’t have to scratch their heads when they are asked difficult questions.

They have one sure reliable partner who can help them answer their children’s questions and that is the internet which by itself is a revolutionary technological intervention.

So now, if my little six-year old daughter were to ask me about any latest technology, I wouldn’t struggle to explain a few things to her. I will just pick my phone and check the internet.

Source: Georgona Asare Fiagbenu

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