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Wireless Reach

Helping to bridge the digital divide

Despite the rapid pace of technology, a digital divide still exists. In fact, as much as 70 percent of the population does not use the Internet.1

Wireless Reach™ from Qualcomm

We know access to wireless communications has a direct, positive impact on people’s economic well-being. The World Bank has found that increasing mobile penetration by 10 percentage points in developing countries increases per capita gross domestic product (GDP) by .81 percent.2 A 10 percent increase in broadband penetration in those countries increases per capita GDP by 1.38 percent.3

Our strategic Wireless ReachTM initiative is helping to close the digital divide. With 73 projects in various stages of development in 31 countries, Wireless Reach brings wireless technology to underserved communities around the world. By working with other organizations, Wireless Reach invests in projects that foster entrepreneurship, aid in public safety, enhance the delivery of health care, enrich teaching and learning, and improve environmental sustainability. You can read more about Wireless Reach here. Following are five Wireless Reach accomplishments from 2011.

Our Strategic Wireless Reach
Wireless Reach initiative: 73 projects, 31 countries, closing the digital divide


Wireless heart health assists underserved patients with cardiovascular diseases

Wireless heart health assists underserved patients with cardiovascular diseasesAccording to the World Health Organization, chronic diseases—like cardiovascular diseases (CVDs)—have placed a grave economic burden on countries.4 CVDs are currently the leading cause of death in China, responsible for about 3 million deaths annually.5 Wireless Reach, in collaboration with Life Care Networks and the Community Health Association of China, has worked to increase investment for the prevention and care of CVDs for underserved communities in China. Four community health clinics in Shandong, Anhui, Sichuan and Chongqing were given 3G-enabled electrocardiograph (ECG) monitors, which allow remote screening and monitoring of CVDs. The 3G ECG monitors send patient data through China Telecom’s EV-DO Network to a 24-hour call center in Beijing staffed by physicians. These doctors can then provide rapid feedback to the patient via text or phone call.



Using 3G mobile broadband to remotely diagnose patients

Using 3G mobile broadband to remotely diagnose patientsWorking with the GSMA Foundation, the Ministry of Health, the Ministry of Communications and Information, and Mobinil, Wireless Reach launched a program to test a technology framework that enables dermatologists to use a 3G mobile network to diagnose skin conditions remotely. Located in low-income areas of Cairo, the program sites allow physicians to take photographs of patient skin conditions and capture symptoms in text format using a 3G-enabled wireless device. This information is then sent via mobile broadband so doctors can swiftly obtain a diagnosis from specialists working elsewhere. During the pilot phase, both an on-site physician and a remote specialist diagnosed skin conditions, and the results were then compared to confirm the prognosis. To date, diagnosis comparisons completed during the pilot have demonstrated full agreement in 82.2 percent of cases examined.



Sesame Radiophone project provides early learning opportunities for underserved children

Sesame Radiophone project provides early learning opportunities for underserved childrenWireless Reach joined with Sesame Workshop India to launch the Sesame Radiophone project, which focuses on addressing the educational and health needs of poor and disenfranchised urban children, particularly those in migrant working families. Sesame Workshop India runs the Galli Galli Sim Sim (GGSS) radio show, which integrates local voices and is broadcasted on the Gurgaon6 community radio station. In addition, the radio show and GGSS-related content—videos, games and text—also will be available on mobile phones. Families will be able to easily access the GGSS content using a preloaded shortcut on the phone, allowing parents to access educational content for their preschool-age children who otherwise lack access to schools and formal education. A research study will be undertaken at the end of the pilot to assess the impact of the content on children and their families.



Creating new entrepreneurial opportunities with mobile devices

Creating new entrepreneurial opportunities with mobile devicesQualcomm’s Wireless Reach initiative, Grameen Foundation, Ruma and Bakrie Telecom have accepted the Global Telecoms Business Innovation Award for the Application Laboratory (AppLab) project. The award was given in recognition of innovative projects in the telecom industry that make a difference to the communications sector. AppLab delivers new products, information services and business opportunities tailored to the needs of the poor and poorest, and in ways that are specifically designed to increase their income. This program builds off of the Mobile Microfranchising project, which, as of November 2011, has recruited more than 9,250 Ruma Entrepreneurs and serves approximately 1 million unique customers. The Mobile Microfranchising project creates sustainable businesses by offering a prepackaged kit that includes a mobile phone with a microfinance loan that allows entrepreneurs to resell “airtime minutes” to neighbors: an estimated 47 percent of entrepreneurs who stay in the portfolio for more than four months have moved above the poverty line, and 100 percent are profitable.



Demonstrating the effectiveness of smartphones in learning

Demonstrating the effectiveness of smartphones in learningThe 3G Smartphone Digital Textbook project provides 500 smartphones loaded with educational content to students at Renaissance Academy—a private correspondence high school in Daigo-cho, Ibaraki. Students are also able to download educational applications and take lessons or tests anytime and anywhere. Offering smartphone-based courses is expected to help increase the rate of students completing programs while staying interested in learning. Having ubiquitous access to educational materials gives students an opportunity to study, catch up with lessons and take tests outside the hours of a typical school day. This flexibility is expected to help students as they work to obtain a diploma, which will help them secure a steady job.

1International Telecommunications Union.

2Figure 3.1: Growth Effects of ICT, Christine Zhen-Wei Quang and Garlo M. Rossotto with Kaoru Kimura, “Economic Impacts of Broadband” in Information and Communications for Development 2009–Extending Reach and Increasing Impact (World Bank, 2009).


4World Health Organization, “Rethinking ‘Diseases of Affluence’: The Economic Impact of Chronic Diseases,” 2005.

5China CVD Report 2010, published by China National Center for Cardiovascular Diseases under the administration of the Ministry of Health.

6Gurgaon is a typical city center that sees continued economic activity but worsening poverty, resulting in increased disparities within a close geographic area.