Earphone Usage is Up in Antigua Guatemala

Earphone Usage is Up in Antigua Guatemala

A few years back LD ranted about all the people she came across wearing earbuds while riding the public transit buses in Toronto after having spent a few years in Guatemala where the practice was rare, if not, nonexistent in the chicken bus rides. I remember her rant because at the time I hadn’t noticed it.

Now, however, very often I see people wearing earphones or the omnipresent “white earbuds” of the iPhones and iPods. This evident increase in earbuds usage has different reasons other than to shut the world out; which is a valid reason on my book.

The more obvious reason for the increase of headphones is the music players, iPods and the generic clones, are so much cheaper now in Guatemala. Entry level portable music players can be had for as little as $25 to $50 for the iPod generic clones.

Another reason for the increase in earphone usage is actually cellphones, many of which now come with hands-free earbuds, as in the picture above, for the making and receiving calls as well as for listening to the radio. That’s right, many cheap mobile phones now come with AM/FM radio and Guatemalans love listening to the radio.

Since we are now talking about mobile phones, I like the opportunity to share with you some great hindsights about cellphones and their transformative power in Guatemala written by our guest author Kara Andrade for Americas Quarterly and Ashoka. Below I will quote some thoughts that I consider relevant, but I suggest you read the entire articles.

Cell phones are ubiquitous and becoming more widely adopted each day in a country where there more cellphones than citizens…

The reality of Guatemala’s Telecom advantage is starting to influence the way people, organizations and government institutions get and provide information. News organizations like Emisoras Unidas, Radio Sonora, El Periódico, and others provide breaking news via text or SMS alerts and ask listeners to contribute news, comments and traffic reports that are often read out on-air.

Technology in the shape of cellphones that are cheap, accessible and ubiquitous is becoming transformative for Guatemala. While cellphones are not the only tool in Guatemala’s development, their role is vital in the country’s gradual process of democratization… (source: Above the clouds, five bars — and more)

The fact that Android is free and open source and now available in places like Guatemala is important because many people in developing countries use mobile [phones] as their primary or only source for Web access…

In Guatemala, long after the asphalt and pavement ends, cell phone networks extend deep into the mountains, and coverage is almost universally accessible. Much to the surprise of its Central American neighbors, Guatemala’s telecom sector is in the top four in Latin America…

The municipality of Guatemala City sends out traffic alerts throughout the day to Twitter and users also contribute development about protests, blockades and construction…

Access is not just for the wealthy or for those with good credit. Anyone can buy a cell phone [internet access] in Guatemala by texting 805 “wap”. Under Tigo’s plan, $.60 per day allows for unlimited access browsing the Internet. That’s cheaper than texting. (source: Androids Land in Guatemala)

I have mentioned some of these facts before, however, it is a pleasure to read them in a well rounded article written by a Guatemalan professional journalist like Kara Andrade.

© 2010 – 2020, Rudy Giron. All rights reserved.

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