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20-Cent 'Cloud Phone' Offers Mobile Service for Poor

movirtu cloud phone Plenty of people are using cell phones today, but many of the world's poorest mobile users don't actually have their own phones. Instead of shelling out $25 (or more) for their own personal handsets, many impoverished users simply purchase one phone, and share it amongst their friends or family. It may be a cost-efficient way of connecting to the world, but it isn't exactly convenient, nor does it offer a lot of privacy. Thanks to Movirtu Limited's new 'cloud phone,' though, cash-strapped cell phone users may soon be able to have their own mobile phone numbers for just 20 cents -- even if they don't actually have a phone.

As Movirtu CEO Nigel Waller explains to CNN, the cloud phone isn't really a phone, but a mobile service. Once activated, the service will assign a unique number to each subscriber, who can then create a list of contacts, and check for any missed calls or text messages. The difference, however, is that users can access their accounts from any other phone. All they have to do is borrow someone's phone, type in their special PIN code, and instantly make or receive calls under their own number. And the best part, of course, is that they'll only have to pay 10 to 20 cents to subscribe -- although they'll still have to adhere to local rates if they want to actually place a call.

The cloud phone may not be able to provide actual phones for the world's neediest, but it can certainly help them maximize the handsets they've already invested in. And considering how many mobile users live on just $1 a day, any service capable of stretching that dollar is certainly a program worth pursuing.

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Tags: africa, cellphone, cloud, cloud phone, CloudPhone, mobile, mobile phone, MobilePhone, movirtu, poor, poverty, sms, Texting, top